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The Finance Inquiry; Patience in Catching the Crooked Muruks

August 22 2010 at 7:49 AM
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The Muruk is a powerful creature. It can reach two meters in its prime and has the ability to travel long distances. Unable to fly because of its body weight, this animal has adapted well. With its powerful claws, and muscular hinds, it defends well and is effective in overpowering preys. Even in the presence of a hunting party, it can easily over power, arrows, buckshots it indeed is a powerful animal. However, like all animals, it has its vulnerabilities and for the cassowary, it is the prism above its head, its brain. Meticulous planning, surveillance must be carried out before hinting it. The conventional way many tribes in PNG catch them is by chasing a herd into dense scrubs by burning the forests. There they will force the cassowary to adapt to this environment. With the fear of losing its balance, the cassowary is left with little option but hide. In this state, the hunt is virtually over as the big bird is fully exposed. However, the fact that its alive, extreme caution is taken and usually from afar, the final blow is made.

The Finance Commission of Inquiry Report is burning through the cyber forest and has taken the crooked muruks into the dense scrubs to hide. Maurice Sheehan has indeed confirmed the rumors of siphoning resources through institutional corruption at the Finance Department is very real. From the inflammatory deed settlements to ridiculous retainer contracts, the report is clear; a bunch of folks simply stole a whole heap of money.

So as we sharpen our spears and walk closer to catch these crooked muruks, we have to respect its ability to strike first and therefore, careful planning must prevail. The gag orders will be coming, the defamation suits are been prepared and the favorite for every criminal cut the paper trail and find ways of killing the hounds.

But this is the great news Papua New Guinea, they are ssoo busted.. You see, Sheehans team has the paper trail, thats right sufficient evidence to throw them in jail. Evidence cited in the report indicated fraud, false pretence and yes, misappropriation. All are indictments and as such the Police Commissioner, Chief Ombudsman (OC) and the Public Prosecutor (PP) have the basis to move into enforcement mode.

Usually, the muruk will apply a gag order but they have two main limitations. First, is time and secondly its specificity. The latter is of particular interest. If they want to stop its publication, distribution and so forth, it may do so but the evidence derived from the report cannot be stopped. Therefore, it is essential that the Police Commissioner commences a clandestine operation to attain the evidence and commence the investigations.

The following needs to take place. The Police Commissioner needs to instruct the Fraud Squad to attain all evidence collected from the Inquiry to commence building indictments to those implicated. The beauty is, they virtually dont have to do anything as the evidence compiled is catalogue and clearly cited in the report. These investigative officers than need to liaise with the OC and the PP so as to identify the appropriate charge. Once this is ascertained, the PP can than issue a Nollie Proseque to issue indictments. With the evidence already present, the objective is for the police to immediately charge them.

As for those leaders, they should be killed in a Leadership Tribunal first. This is because the leadership tribunal will remove them as leaders and this will allow, in theory, for them not to hold any leadership position. Although one has to be mindful of the Diro case. Nonetheless, this should proceed and thereafter, the PP should issue a Nollie on the leader for further prosecution.

In a similar approach, all lawyers citied in the report should be referred to the Lawyers Statutory Committee for immediate hearing. This committee within the PNG Law Society is responsible for penalizing lawyers of misconduct. After this process has been exhausted, the PP should issue a Nollie as well.

Several factors are crucial. First, the Fraud Squad needs to do this in a clandestine manner. No public announcements, no statements as this will attract challenges. You see, unlike previous inquiries, the evidence is not prima facie but substantive. Expert witnesses in the fields of forensic accounting, cyber crime eperts and conventional investigators have done an exceptional job in compiling and cataloguing the evidence. The Report makes explicit reference to their existence. The second factor is the PP and his top Prosecutor to ensure the evidence is tight. From the looks of things they are. So when the Nollie is issued, charges occur simultaneously. By pegging an indictment and charged taken, the rest is mere procedure. However for many of them, their lawyers will probably tell them to enter verdict of guilty as this will give them some wiggle room for a plea bargain and this may mean a lesser conviction (reduced charge e.g. misappropriation, indictment, to false pretence summery) and sentencing (reduced time). The public should monitor this exercise as the crooks may cut deals to expose other deals.

As we go into the kill zone to catch this beast, spare a thought for the great men and women who are fighting the fight. Many have endured assassination attempts, rape, marital problems, and whispered damage of their personal property. In spite of these travesties, they plotted on to complete the inquiry. May your passion for righteousness be endearing for generations to come. And may God rise up leaders never to walk in the path of these crooked muruks.

 
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