Friday, May 31, 2013

Papua Bew Guinea's Gulf gas project talks set

Source: Post Courier, Monday 27th May 2013
ExxonMobil and InterOil in talks to develop the Elk and Antelope natural gas reservoirs
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed the decision by InterOil to start talks with ExxonMobil as a potential partner to develop its Elk and Antelope gas reservoirs.

“This is an important announcement for the development of these assets, and I’m certain all stakeholders will welcome this.“As a stakeholder, the government is pleased that InterOil and its partners are taking the next significant step towards the development of our vast natural gas resource.“When the full potential of the gas reservoirs in the Gulf Province are realised, PNG will have in place a stable revenue flow from these resources for the next 30 to 50 years,” the Prime Minister said.

According to government estimates, PNG GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has been growing at an average of 11 per cent a year and with the construction phase of the PNG LNG project reaching 80 percent completion, GDP growth is expected to slow down to 6-8 per cent this year (2013), before rising significantly when LNG exports begin in late 2014 or early 2015.

Papua New Guinea businessman arrested and charged again

Source: Post Courier, Friday 31 May, 2013
Businessman, Eremas Wartoto has been arrested and charged again by the Investigative Task Force Sweep for allegedly defrauding the State of K13.5 million, funds meant for the rehabilitation of rundown agricultural plantations.
According to the Task Force Sweep team, Mr Wartoto has so far been charged for five cases in relation to misappropriation of public funds totaling more than K33 million.
The Sweep team says Mr Wartoto has more cases to answer. He was previously committed to stand trial in absentia for a case involving funds meant for the rehabilitation of the Kerevat National High School in East New Britain under the RESI program administered by the Department of National Planning and Monitoring.
Sweep chairman Sam Koim said in a statement yesterday: “Just yesterday (Wednesday), Minister for National Planning and Monitoring (DNPD, Charles Abel) tabled a report concerning more than K500 million that was expended on the National Agricultural Development Project (NADP) and coincidently, Mr Wartoto is allegedly one of the beneficiaries of those funds.” 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Death laws passed in Papua New Guinea

Source: The National, Wednesday 29th May 2013

The Criminal Code Act (Amendment Bill 2013), which was passed on a voice vote, repealed the Sorcery Act 1971. The amendment bill contains steep penalties for various crimes in the country. 

Killings connected with sorcery will now be treated as wilful murder and the penalty is death.
Aggravated rape is defined as rape using dangerous wea­pons or rape in the company of one or more persons or where grievous bodily harm is caused and where the victim is a child under 10 years.
The new laws have increased the penalties for kidnapping which will now carry a maximum prison term of 50 years without remission or parole while kidnapping for ransom, a new kind of crime, now carries maximum penalty of life imprisonment without remission and parole.
As for stealing of monies between K5 million and K9.99 million, the maximum penalty is 50 years without remission and parole while for stealing K10 million or more, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment without parole or remission.
Misappropriation worth K10 million or above now carries a maximum of life imprisonment.
Parliament also amended section 597 of the Criminal Code Act, which allows for a number of modes of execution. These include hanging by the neck, administration of anesthetics followed by lethal injection, medical death through anesthetic administration and deprivation of oxygen, death by a firing squad and electrification.
The method of execution will be determined by the Head of State acting on advice from the National Executive Council.
Justice and Attorney General Kerenga Kua told Parliament that the laws were tough and reflected the crime situation and demands by the community.
Kua said current laws have not deterred people from committing serious crimes and the amended laws would give a strong warning to offenders.
He added that the death penalty on sorcery related killings would send a strong message to perpetrators.
Kua said violent crimes such as armed robbery and stealing had increased and were an impediment to development.
The new penalties would act as a deterrent to such crimes, he said.
Papua New Guinea Parliament yesterday gave a resounding aye to amendments to the Criminal Code Act that raised penalties for serious crimes including stealing and misappropriation.
The death penalty will apply for crimes such as aggravated rape, sorcery-related killings and robbery with violence.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Enga Provincial Government set out K10mil for school-fee loans

Source: The National (Wednesday 29th May 2013)

The Enga provincial government will allocate more than K10 million to assist children in private schools in the province. This is a continuous investment in human resource for the province and people of Enga
Enga Governor Peter Ipatas said the special loan facility would be available when a new microbank for the province was opened.
Parents whose children attend private schools can acquire loans for school fees.
The Enga government has invested more than K180 million in human resource development, mainly on school fee subsidies and infrastructure development, since Ipatas began prioriortising education in 1987.
He gave K750,000 to the Amapyaka Highlands Lutheran International School in Wapenamanda last Saturday.
Ipatas said although private schools did not benefit directly from provincial and national government subsidy programmes, Enga would help schools not on the public school subsidy list.
The notable private schools in Enga are Four Square International School, Kompiam Baptist International, Porgera International, Amapyaka Lutheran International and Kungumanda Community Health Workers College.
“We will park about K10 million in the microbank that we plan to open early next year. This money is intended to assist everyone in the province,” Ipatas said. Once this is full swing those unfortunate students attending private institutions in the province will benefit.

“We will come up with a special loan facility to assist parents whose children attend private schools to acquire loan for school fees.” 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tougher laws for violet crimes in Papua New Guinea

Source: The National, Thursday 2nd May 2013

The National Executive Council has approved a legislative action plan to address community concerns over the level of violent crimes in the country.
 Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said laws would be drafted to increase the penalty for violent crimes such as rape and murder.“The level of these serious crimes in our community, particularly crimes of sexual nature and murder are unacceptable,” he said.
 “The heinous behaviour is perpetrated by a few, but the country at large is made to suffer. “We must act now to protect the majority. “The proposed laws are tough, but they are necessary. “We have to address a situation that is destroying our country.” The NEC has authorised Attorney-Ge­neral Kerenga Kua to table the proposed laws in parliament when it meets in two weeks.
A government statement yesterday said the proposed legislation would clear hurdles so that the death penalty could be implemented. It said among the methods of execution discussed was death by firing squad, considered more humane and inexpensive than others. But O’Neill said cabinet had not settled on a method yet.
Cabinet has also decided that the execution centre for those on death row will be in a new maximum security prison to be built in a remote area, preferably a remote island.
Under the proposed laws:
  • Rape will attract life imprisonment without parole;
  • -Armed robbery will attract 30 years; 
  • -The Sorcery Act will be repealed so that sorcery-related crimes are punishable under the Criminal Code; 
  • -Drug abuse will now attract a minimum of 10 years; and
  • -Penalties for all forms of assault will be increased.
O’Neill said alcohol licencing would become a “national function and no longer a provincial function”.

Trading hours for alcohol will be limited from noon to 2am for licenced premises, and noon to 6pm for retail outlets. The government statement said any breach of the liquor laws would attract 10 years imprisonment or a heavy fine for licences or consumers. The penalty for the possession of unlicenced firearm is now 10 years, while manufacturing of firearm attracts a 20-year penalty.