Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pundari: Ramu tailings disposal effective

By PATRICK TALU, The National
THE government has maintained the disposal of mine tailings from the Ramu mickel mine is done in an “environmentally safe and socially responsible manner”.
Mining minister John Pundari, commenting on the outcome of a week-long stakeholders meeting in Madang on the deep-sea tailings placement system (DSTP), said it (the system) was the right approach.
In a statement yesterday, Pundari said the government was confident given the body of evidences from various environmental reports and assessment on the possible environmental impact assessment carried out by internationally reputable scientific organization.
He also noted the continuing efforts towards ensuring the proper disposal of tailings from the mine.
“We must appreciate the financial risk undertaken by the Chinese enterprises to invest in PNG in a project that is technically difficult to develop when no other investor was willing to undertake the challenge,” Pundari said.
He said the government further believed that the environmentally responsible development of the Ramu nickel mine using DSTP technology offered  the people of Rai Coast and the people of Madang an important opportunity to develop their communities and enjoy the economic benefits that large-scale mining projects had brought to other parts of the country.
“In parting, it is unfortunate that such a volume of study and information was available even before 2003 when MCC first carried out its due diligence study before taking a decision to invest in PNG,” Pundari said.
“It appears that these studies (dating back to 1988 and beyond) were not an issue for contention until MCC’s involvement in the project,” Pundari added.

Woman gets 14 years for murder

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
THE National Court in Madang last Thursday sentenced a woman to 12 years jail with hard labour for killing another woman after she suspected her of having and affair with her husband.
Agnes Baru Anton, 18, from Karisokra village in Bundi stabbed the woman to death last Aug 17 after finding her conversing with her husband at a village disco.
According to facts before the courts, Anton had been forced into marrying her husband and was two months pregnant at the time.
She went to the disco because she had heard rumours of her husband talking to the deceased in places.
At the disco she saw the woman standing next to her husband in a secluded place away from the main dance area.
“I felt bad when I saw them together as he had forced me to marry him and made me pregnant and now he was with this woman.
“I thought of how my father had left us and it seemed like the sort of thing was going to happen again.
The woman died from three stab wounds.
Agnes was attacked and lost her baby. Her house was also burnt down in retaliation.
A compensation or “bel kol moni” of K1,370 and seven pigs was arrange by Anton and her relatives.
She pleaded guilty and expressed remorse for the crime but Justice David Cannings said this was not a strong case for a suspension of the sentence.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Judge visits Beon jail facilities

MADANG’S resident judge Justice David Cannings visited Beon jail at the weekend. The purpose of the visit was to see the living conditions for four of the 14 inmates accused in the BSP robbery trial.
During the visit he also took time out to have a look at the houses some of the CS officers are living in. Justice Cannings (who is pictured third from left) was told that about 15 officers were living in bush material homes.
He was told that these houses had been built by the inmates and the one in which he is pictured outside belonged to a corporal.
He learned many high ranking officers on site were also forced to live in these bush material and semi-permanent homes due to the unavailability of proper houses at the prison grounds.

Sick state of Gusap

GUSAP Health Centre in Madang’s Usino/Bundi district needs money to upgrade aging infrastructures.
Executive officer Felix Karpai told the Post-Courier he “urgently needed” more than K66,000 to build staff houses and a perimeter fence around the facility.
Mr Karpai said there was a greater need for the authorities, especially the Joint District Planning & Budget Priority Committee (JDP&BPC), the Madang Provincial Government and the National Government to fund the health centre’s rehabilitation project.
He said: “The population of Gusap is increasing every week due to the introduction of oil palm on the Markham plains.
“Thus, the Government should upgrade infrastructures at the Gusap in a bid for it to deliver adequate and effective health services to the populace.”
Gusap health board’s deputy chairman Pastor Kom Gilmai expressed similar sentiments saying they were looking for funds to build seven staff houses.
Pr Gilmai said: “We are glad that AusAID has “given us the green light to finance one house. The Government should fund the rest of the houses and other facilities.”

Diwai bows out in final

By PORENI UMAU, Post Courier
DROPPED balls was the order of the day as LBC Warriors forced Ela Diwai to hang up their boots for the season, winning 10-8 in Madang Rugby League semi-finals last Sunday.
The win gives Warriors the chance to have a crack at the grand finals with Royals this weekend. The game, played before a vocal crowd at the Ron Albert Oval was played down to a nail biting finish with Warriors getting the upper hand with two minutes to full time via a penalty conversion by Esekiel Roka after Diwai fullback Douglas Kata tripped Abi Ekai.
Eka had only Kata to beat after he broke through the Diwai defence only to be tripped and was awarded a penalty that gave his team the win at full time.
Diwai was the first to score with a minute into kick off when Warriors fullback Roger Diru spilled the ball in his goal area. A well orchestrated play by Diwai halves Grant Towingo and Anaga Issac sent winger Jerry Jacob over the try line for the first four pointer. Issac lifted the flags to give Divine Word University a 6-nil lead.
Diwai then launched attacks with hard running forwards Adrian Baungas, Eddie Lappa, captain Joel Martin leading the way.
Warriors tackling machine Samson Mala, Jessey Alko, Kelema Andrew and Hector Morris kept the uni boys at bay. Warriors led by their forwards and strong runs from winger Kembol Kaikepe countered the Diwai raid and in the 13th minute Kaikepe dropped the ball with the try line wide open and at his mercy after a good set play.
The Warriors regrouped and tormented the Diwai defence with halves Albie Eka and Esekiel Roka leading and testing Diwai at will. The pressure produced a try in the 18th minute when centre John Lango dived over for the Warriors four pointer. Eka‘s conversion tied the scores at 6-all to the break.
The second stanza saw Warriors come out with all guns blazing as they launched several raids against the Diwai defence.
Both teams refused to give in but Warriors was the better side in a hard fought match, winning by a mere 10-8 at fulltime.

Delays to cost PNG more

By ERIC TAPAKAU, Post Courier
WHEN our debt from international donors is being significantly reduced, Papua New Guinea is set to crawl on its knees to repay overseas investors if the ongoing landowner issues in mineral and petroleum resource areas are not sorted out once and for all.
This is a warning from a highly placed expert in the mining and petroleum industry who said penalty fees would amount to billions of dollars and any negative impact on the projects emanating from landowner issues would also badly tarnish the good name of the country, especially at a time when PNG was enjoying a reputation globally as a “good investment destination”.
“If these projects do not meet their deadlines, there are clauses in their agreements that they will be liable to pay penalty fees and the State will also be liable to pay some of those fees,” he said.
He said currently PNG was in the process of hosting two multi-billion projects in the Ramu nickel/cobalt project and the PNG LNG Project but both projects had their share of landowner issues.
But he is not alone as Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare also fears that PNG will be liable to repay billions of dollars in penalty fees to the Chinese-owned Ramu NiCo and its parent company China Metallurgical and Constructions Company Ltd if the Ramu project does not meet its schedules.
He said this earlier this year when highlighting the fact that Ramu was an important project for the country.
Ramu NiCo said in an advertisement yesterday that it would consider retrenching its workers after the National Court refused to lift the injunction preventing Ramu NiCo from constructing the offshore component of the project’s deep sea tailings placement system.
The company has so far spent $US1.2 billion of the total $US1.4 billion on construction and construction work is ending with production set to resume by the end of this year.
Ramu NiCo is understood to be losing K7 million daily when the project is delayed due to the court challenge on the DSTP.
“As construction is winding down and most of the equipment has been installed, one real option is to now place the project on a care and maintenance basis, postpone the operational works and adopt retrenchment measures, even though this would be devastating for our workers and their dependents and for the landowners, other community members and business partners,” the company said in a statement.
“Given this, Ramu NiCo will do everything it reasonably can to minimise the losses and the first action will be to urgently appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.”
The company said it would also discuss the present situation with project stakeholders before taking further action.
The PNG LNG project also faces similar situation with construction phase set to be completed by 2013, all stakeholders including the State will be liable to pay hefty penalty fees if first gas is not delivered by 2014.

Kapris and others ‘win’

By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
BEON jail commander was yesterday ordered by the National Court to ensure that William Kapris and his three other co-accuseds are provided with basic necessities.
The orders were made yesterday in relation to the human rights applications which had been filed by Kapris, Kito Aso, Elvis Bala Aka and Isabelle Kivare last week through their respective lawyers.
The orders that were sought by the applicants were in relation to Section 57 of the Constitution which encompassed their right from freedom from inhuman treatment, full protection of the law and to be treated with humanity.
Following his visit to the jail at the weekend and submissions which had been made by the respective lawyers on behalf of their clients on Tuesday, the court heard the orders were for the duration of their stay in Madang and not in relation to concerns which they had raised of their detention at Bomana.
Justice Cannings said having seen the place in which Kapris, Aso and Bala Aka were being kept he said the state was much better than they were back in 2005 when he last visited and had ordered the closure of the then “dark cells”.
However, he said it was still “inhuman in some aspects”.
He ordered that Kapris and Aso because of their records of escape and the security issues raised by the CS Commissioner remain in separate confinements but that they by August 30 be provided with fresh blankets, towels and mosquito nets.
He ordered that both also be given four litres of clean water every day and a basin in which to wash their hands, two periods of 30 minutes in the open air in which to exercise and one visit a week also for 30 minutes by a family member or friend in addition to the visit by their lawyer.
Further that both be escorted to Modilon Hospital for medical checks and treatments for injuries which they have sustained, Kapris to both his feet and Aso to his mouth and lips.
Justice Cannings ordered that Bala Aka be moved from the separate confinement to the main remand compound by August 27 as he had history of escape.
In relation to Kivare’s application Justice Cannings also ordered that she be provided by the August 30 with fresh blankets for both her and her daughter, towels and a larger mosquito net.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DWU launches solar power

THE Divine Word University in Madang has taken on a “green university” initiative by investing in solar power, which was launched by businessman and former politician Sir Peter Barter last Sunday.
The solar power project was the highlight of the university’s 14th foundation day anniversary, the day the government declared Divine Word Institute as a national university.
Under the solar project, phase one would include the installation of solar-powered street lights.
Archbishop of the Madang Catholic archdiocese William Kurtz celebrated the occasion with the university and blessed the street lights.
Sir Peter said DWU was on the right path to invest in solar energy to help combat global warming-induced climate change.
He said other tertiary institutions and the rest of PNG should follow the lead by DWU and invest in alternate energy from fossil fuel.
“Solar power equipment does not come cheaply, or easily.
“It is through hard work, dedication and commitment,” Sir Peter said, and commended the efforts of DWU president Fr Jan Czuba and project coordinator Fr Philip Smith.
Fr Czuba said solar power street lights at the Madang campus were part of a three-year project that would cover all DWU campuses.
He said the project was trialed at the university’s Coronation Drive property.
The university’s concern for the environment began with the launching of its “paperless university” policy three years ago.
Fr Czuba said the university would continue to upgrade its campus facilities and grounds to ensure it promotes nature and the natural environment.
Student Representative Council president Kathleen Tokilivila praised the university, saying the students were proud to be studying in an institution that had developed innovative ways to serve the public.

DWU students celebrate Cultural Day

THE Divine Word University campus once again came alive with traditional song and dance as students took the centre stage in the annual Cultural Day in Madang last Saturday.
For the first time students from neighbouring Solomon Islands, whose intake has increased this year, also showcased their culture.
The students from the proposed provinces of Hela and Jiwaka were also allowed for the first time to perform separately from Southern Highlands and Western Highlands respectively.
The public in Madang and the visiting tourists and the growing expatriate community of Chinese, Filipinos and Europeans took the chance to see a sampling of the diverse cultures and traditions of PNG.
The Cultural Day is in August every year that the university sets for the students to acknowledge their indigenous roots in traditional song, dance, costumes and folklore.
President of the university, Fr Jan Czuba, said the Cultural Day was not a “show” but a day the students must be given a chance to reflect on the importance and values of the indigenous cultures of PNG amidst the
influences of modern ways.

Leaders maintain ‘no DSTP’ stand

VARIOUS landowner groups yesterday renewed their opposition that to the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system in Madang waters.
A group of disgruntled leaders met at the seafront of Coastwatchers Hotel as the Madang National Court was hearing an application by Ramu NiCo seeking a lifting of the interim injunction which had halted its construction of the DSTP system offshore facility at Basamuk Bay.
In a media statement, the group, backed by plaintiffs Farina Siga, Sama Melambo, Eddie Tarsie and Peter Sel, said that the simple message was “there will be no DSTP in Madang”.
“We call on Mining Minister John Pundari, who, a few days ago, visited Bongu village in Rai Coast and made an undertaking of ‘looking into things’ and who recently deviated from that speech, to stop drawing attention away from the real issue confronting us – listen to the people.”
Leader George Ireng said they were not against nickel mining or any other mining activity but wanted the government to find an alternate method of tailings disposal.
He said that DSTP was banned in other countries and PNG should follow suit.
The group noted the failure by the Lands Titles Commission to sit and identify genuine landowners along in the project impact areas.
Bagbag islander John Simoi said the Bismarck and Solomon seas were famous for their unique biodiversity and home to half of the world’s coral, leatherback turtles, various seagrass and tuna breeding ground in what is known as the Magado Square.

Ramu NiCo considers laying off workers

RAMU NiCo, the manager of Ramu nickel joint venture, will consider laying off workers at its nickel and cobalt operations in Madang following yesterday’s National Court refusal to lift the interim injunction preventing the construction of its offshore component of the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system.
More than 3,000 people in the province depended on the US$1.4 billion project which is nearing the end of its construction phase.
They included about 1,200 Papua New Guinean workers at the Kurumbukari mine site in Usino-Bundi, the refinery site at Basamuk in the Rai Coast and the Madang head office.
They stand to lose their jobs.And, in a further blow, the forced stopwork at the mine will slash economic growth forecast for this year.
Government officials said yesterday the GDP growth target of 8.5% this year would be downgraded to 7.1%, a massive drop which could have a negative effect on PNG as an investment destination.
The slow down in the PNG LNG project was also going to have some impact on economic growth forecasts, they said.
Ramu NiCo said their first option though would be to urgently appeal yesterday’s decision to the Supreme Court.
An “extremely disappointed” Ramu NiCo said in a statement it had already lost millions of kina since the injunction was granted in March.
In an earlier pre-trial hearing, Ramu NiCo had told the court that damages suffered since the injunction was granted included K2.05 milllion in direct expenses, K360,000 a day in interest to banks and K1.3 million a day in cost to DSTP contractors.
It said it had suffered financial losses for which it could not possibly be compensated.
Ramu NiCo had sought to lift the injunction by five Basamuk plaintiffs to allow it to finish construction before the advent of the rainy season and had undertaken not to dispose of tailings through the pipeline without the court’s approval.
It said that up to June 30, it had spent US$1.2 billion out of the total development cost of US$1.4 billion for the project, which was scheduled to start trial operation by October.
Ramu NiCo said that given that it was unlikely that the DSTP would be completed before the rainy season, significant delays to the project construction and operational schedule was now unavoidable.
It said it had to fully assess the impact and amend the construction and operational timetable accordingly.
“As the construction is winding down and most of the equipment has been installed, one real option is to now place the project on a ‘care and maintenance’ basis, postpone the operational preparation works and adopt retrenchment measures, even though this would be devastating for our workers and their dependents and for the landowners, other community members and business partners.
“Given this, Ramu NiCo will do everything it reasonably can to minimise the losses.
“Ramu NiCo will also discuss the present situation with project stakeholders, including Highlands Pacific Limited, the government and landowners, before taking further actions,” it said.

Judge opts for safety

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
NATIONAL Court judge David Cannings opted for “a safety first approach” yesterday when he refused to grant an application by Ramu NiCo to lift the interim court injunction he had granted in March to stop offshore construction of the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system.
Instead, he extended the injunction until Dec 21, the trial date for the substantive case by five Basamuk plaintiffs – Eddie Tarsie, Farina Siga, Peter Sel, Sama Melambo and Pommern Inc Land Group.
Cannings ruled that there was no material change in circumstances, as was sought by Ramu NiCo which had also failed to provide sufficiently evidence to prove that the trial was delayed due to failure on the plaintiffs’ part.
The March injunction meant that all preparatory or construction work on DSTP system had stopped, including all and any damage or disturbance either directly or indirectly to the offshore environment such as coral blasting, popping of dead or live coral and laying of pipes pending the substantive hearing.
Cannings said he was not convinced that waste would not be discharged into the seas if construction of the DSTP was allowed to proceed pending the substantive hearing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pundari happy with Madang visit

MINING Minister John Pundari said he is happy to have met Rai Coast landowners in Madang last week to listen to their views on Ramu NiCo’s deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system which is subject of National Court hearing this month.
Pundari said in a statement that although the people expressed their frustrations and concerns on the DSTP, lack of government commitment in the project, especially in fulfilling the memorandum of agreement (MoA) socio-economic development programme (SEDP) commitments, the Land Titles Commission hearing and the promised Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) independent report on the DSTP, the people from the coastal pipeline area to Basamuk refinery site fully supported the project.
“They have clearly expressed that they need this project to see some form of development taking place in Rai Coast district,” he said.
The minister was also concerned that there were a lot of misleading information being circulated and people were misunderstanding of the whole DSTP system.
He challenged the NGOs and anti-DSTP groups to come with their facts, data and scientists and debate the issues concerned for the good of our people.
“To this date, no one has come forward to the national government and clearly explained the consequences of DSTP and outlining the possible alternatives with scientific backing.
“The only thing the government has received so far is the tongue and media lashing but no concrete evidence from the anti-DSTP groups.
“There are two existing mines (Lihir and Simberi) and one closed (Misima) that use the DSTP system.”

Warriors edge out Diwai in Madang league

LAE Builders and Contractors Warriors edged out defending premiers Ela Diwai 10-8 in Globe Madang Rugby League to book the second grand final spot.
Warriors, who are also the minor premiers, will play Bangui Royals in the grand final on Sunday and vie for the inaugural Globe Cup, sponsored by Madang-based Globe Manufacturing Ltd.
Royals toppled Warriors 20-16 two weeks ago to book the first grand final spot and were on bye last week.
Diwai had a good run in the finals smashing Mangra Hawks 52-0 in a mid-week match last Wednesday and hoped to repeat the same on Warriors.
But, the Warriors had other ideas and gave little room to the defending premiers, who held the title for six consecutive seasons.

Questions raised on dates in Kapris trial

By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
Questions were asked last Friday about the statements which were brought before the court by the state witnesses in relation to the Madang Bank South Pacific heist.
The questions were raised by the defence councels and were in relation to dates which had appeared in two of the witnesses statements which apparently were not only contrary to the sworn oral evidence they signed but in one file had been altered with a pen.
Further, that despite claims by the witnesses that their statements were given to police in Tok Pisin the statements on file were in English and were not dated even though the witnessess were able to state when the statements were taken down.
Given these contradictory facts which were presented suggestions were made by the defence lawyers that the witnesses has signed more than one statement but all four insisted they had only done so once.
The first of the witnesses who was called to swear on oath was Ezikiel John Mai who despite in the statement he signed in the file against Isabelle Kivore stated he had met her for the first time on June 26, remained adamant it happened on June 19.
He reached into his pocket pulling out a statement which he claimed contained the real facts which he had given to police and consistent with his testimony in court.
This forced the senior state prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin to seek a brief adjournment from the court to clarify the issue on how many statements had been taken. Soon after the short recess Mr Mai’s daughter Jane was called to the box.
the trial continues at 9am today.

Judge visits Beon jail compound

Accused bank robber William Nanua Kapris sitting in his bunk in his dark cell (at the Beon jail) as the doors were open. Inset: Kapris raising concerns with Justice David Cannings during his visit to Beon on Saturday.
By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
THE trial into the Madang Bank South Pacific robbery will continue this week with the National Court expected to make a ruling on several human rights applications.
The applications were filed last Thursday by David Dotaona of Dotaona Lawyers on behalf of his client William Nanua Kapris and Siminji from the Public Solicitors Office on behalf of Kito Aso, Elvis Bala Aka and Isabelle Kivare.
Kivare is one of the two women accused in this robbery who was transferred a fortnight ago from Bomana to Beon with her two-year-old daughter.
All four, the court heard last week when the applications were filed, were being held in separate confinements, had been denied all basic rights including access to a lawyer, doctor and visitation by family and friends and had been subject to a lot of abuse.
Justice David Cannings had committed himself to visit the prison grounds to see firsthand their living conditions before making a ruling.
This he did over the weekend under police and CS escort.
The judge’s first stop after meeting with the jail commander Joe Jarko was the female compound where Kivare and her daughter were being held.
There he learned from the women warders that it was the practice for women coming into prison with their young children to be kept in separate holding areas so as not to disturb other inmates.
He heard the two were living in one of the blocks alone because the other was ful

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ramu NiCo plant 90% done

RAMU NiCo’s nickel and cobalt refinery at Basamuk, in Madang’s Astrolabe Bay, is 90% complete, says Ramu NiCo’s vice-president Yang Yong.
Yong told The National at his Basamuk office last Tuesday that all the work should be completed before the project is commissioned in October.
Speaking to the PNG media for the time, he said that the refinery, which included the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system, comprised 80% of the company’s US$1.37 billion investment in the project.
Yong said the refinery is made up of 1,400 separate machines - 724 of them in the main system and another 676 in the support system.
He said all systems had been tested and await the National Court decision on the future of the DSTP.
A group of landowners in the Basamuk area have taken Ramu NiCo to court, claiming that the DSTP was environmentally damaging.
Yong said the construction of the DSTP would take at least 50 days and was the last instalment in the construction phase of the project which had taken the Chinese developer two years to put in place.
The project comprises three components - the mine at Kurumbukari plateau in Usino-Bundi, the 135 slurry pipeline through inland and coastal regions of Rai Coast and the refinery plant, also in Rai Coast electorate.
Apart from the majority Chinese interest, other stakeholders in the project are Highlands Pacific Ltd, the government and landowners in the four impacted areas.

Ramu workers go on strike

PRODUCTION at the New Britain Palm Oil Ltd’s sugar plant at Gusap, Madang, stopped when more than 100 seasonal workers walked off their jobs in protest over pay and working conditions on Wednesday morning.
More than 100 tractor drivers and harvester operators, who started work in May, refused to jump onto their machines when the bell rang for the start of another working day of the 2010 sugar harvest season.
The stop work had forced the sugar production process and the milling to grind to a halt for two consecutive days, while their demands were being negotiated between their representatives
and the company management.
The seasonal employees argued over three main reasons, the two off-days imposed by the company be repealed, double-time be paid on weekends especially Saturdays and Sundays of the pay weeks, and their grading systems be increased from the current 3.1 to 4.1 and upwards.
They claimed that the two off-days were unnecessary because it had dropped their total hours from 112 to 96 a fortnight, which contributed to a drop in their wages.
“We are seasonal workers and we do not need day-offs, after the harvest we can go back to our villages and rest,” they said.
They said the old system with the former employer, Ramu Sugar cum Ramu Ari-Industries Ltd, was much better.
The seasonal employees met with the executives of the company’s national employees union until late yesterday afternoon to present their grievances.
Agriculture manager, Paul Wyatt, had referred The National to the public relations officer, Sharon Onsa, when contacted to comment on the matter yesterday.
Onsa on the other hand, could not be reached most of yesterday as she was involved in the distributing of Fun Run T-shirts to schools between Lae and Gusap.
The harvesting and transporting of cut sugar cane from the fields to the factory comes directly under agriculture department.

Royals book grand final spot

BANGUI Royals defeated minor premiers LBC Warriors 22-16 to book the first grand final berth in Globe Madang Rugby Football League at the Ron Albert Oval last Sunday.
Warriors handed the game over to Royals on a golden plate by going to sleep for 60 minutes of the game after doing well in the opening 20 minutes when they led 16-8.
By half-time, the Warriors had allowed the Royals to reduce the margin to 16-12 and in the final stanza their mistake rate shot to the roof and the policemen made them pay to remain scoreless.
Warriors scored first to lead 4-0 in the opening 10 minutes and when Royals levelled to 4-4, the opposition added three more tries.
But Royals capitalised on the mounting Warriors mistakes and several telling indiscretions by former SP Cup referee Saea Kavora, which included a try that was scored from a forward pass.
Warriors will now play the winners of the re-match between Ela Diwai and Hawks on Sunday to have another crack at advancing to the grand final.
The Diwai-Hawks match was called off by referee Joe Boi because it was getting dark.
Diwai were leading 18-12 with 12 minutes on the clock.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kapris treated like ‘a terrorist’

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
ALLEGED bank robber William Nanua Kapris told the National Court in Madang yesterday that his rights have been deprived and “I am being treated like a terrorist”.
Speaking in court before Justice David Cannings, Kapris said his rights had been deprived since his 25-month imprisonment at Bomana and that his human rights had been abused.
“Even in Madang, I am still under tight security,” he added.
“Our case is a big case. It’s our life, but I have not been allowed access to my lawyer David Dotaona.
“My family and I are willing to pay for travel and accommodation costs. I am being treated like a terrorist,” he told the court, adding: “I want to be treated like a normal state prisoner.”
However, Justice Cannings said: “This is not a human rights abuse case. If you have any human rights complaints, then you can bring it up with your lawyers, the same goes for the others with similar complaints.”
Kapris and 14 others were appearing in relation to the Madang BSP heist in 2008 during which K2 million was stolen and a substantial amount was yet to be recovered.
Cannings allowed an application by senior state prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin to adjourn the case to this morning.
Kaluwin expressed concern that the 10-day trial period was “not realistic”.
Asked why by Cannings, Kaluwin said this was because the matter had changed hands with different prosecutors as well as the need for him to speak to the defence counsel.
In his response, Cannings said: “We had a series of pre-trial earlier in the year. We originally set this trial for May but, due to your office’s slackness and lack of capability, we have been delayed. I had to personally ring the acting public prosecutor to sort this matter out. So, I will allow for tomorrow (today) at 9am.”
Then Cannings asked Kaluwin: “Do you think you will be prepared then?” When Kaluwin responded with a “we’ll see”, Cannings said: “That you will.”                                        
Kapris’ suspected accomplices, 14 (named) and all smartly dressed and mingling like in a high school re-union after the court, were represented by Lae-based state solicitor’s office, a private Lae-based lawyer and Dotaona.
The courthouse was cordoned off, including the provincial government building area, disrupting normal business as the public and people living along the Kina Beach residential area tried accessing the nearby offices to have a glimpse of proceedings.                       
Off duty policeman Sgt Joe Mbur said: “The temporary arrangement by concerned authorities is causing unnecessary inconveniences. Kapris should just be treated like any normal prisoner.”                                     
Reporters were not allowed to take photographs of the prisoners outside the court house.                                      
Police are on a 24- hour vigil around the courthouse area as a precautionary measure.

Kapris pleads guilty

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
TOP robbery suspect William Kapris Nanua yesterday pleaded guilty to robbing the Madang branch of Bank South Pacific in 2008.
In a day of drama in court, Kapris broke from 13 other suspects arraigned on similar charges, and pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit a robbery.
But he pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of kidnapping, 14 counts of deprivation of liberty, and one count of receiving stolen property. The others pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The courtroom in the afternoon was thrown into confusion yesterday when Kapris’ lawyer David Dotaona sought an application to have his client’s matter heard separately after the guilty plea for the two charges was taken.
With Kapris taking his seat first in the witness box, he entertained the courtroom by giving conflicting pleas to Justice David Cannings.
Kapris initially said “yes” when asked by Cannings if he had committed the offences in the 28 counts.
He then had a quick glance across to his lawyer, and changed the answer to “no”.
Dotaona immediately stood to ask leave to speak to his client. After a brief whisper, Kapris said he was sticking with the not guilty plea for the 28 counts.
Earlier in the morning, Dotaona had asked Cannings to allow a two-week extension for him and his client to properly prepare for the defence, but this was refused.
Cannings emphasised that any extension was an unnecessary waste of time and very costly for the state.
“I have considered the cost to the state, the people of PNG having to prepare and get the matter to trial and the security measures in place,” he said.
“I consider it to be in the public interest for the trial to proceed.
“I want a fair trial in an independent court.
“I refuse the application for the two-week extension. The trial will begin now,” he ruled.
It was likely that Kapris could become a state witness despite pleading not guilty to the 27 other charges.
Cannings, when deliberating on the likelihood of having a separate trial, said: “There was no indication given to me during pre-trial. This is a new development.
“I will consider the depositions put ... since he has pleaded guilty, and not being convicted yet ... you want the others to go to trial before another judge?
“I will have to adjourn,” he said as he pondered over the matter.
The Madang BSP robbery occurred on July 5, 2008, when a total of K2,407,315.35 was stolen.
During the robbery, a number of bank workers were allegedly kidnapped and detained in a hotel.
Meanwhile, the court was also advised by Correctional Services officers that Don Aka, Elijah Paul Kapis or Elijah Tinga and Ben Nom, who is also known as “Toi Apet”, were still at large after breaking out of the Bomana prison on Jan 12.
The hearing continues today.

Royals a step away from grand final

THE Allan Bird-sponsored Bangui Royals moved closer to a grand final berth when they edged out glamour team Ela Diwai 11-10 in the semi-finals of the  Globe Madang Rugby Football League last Sunday.
The game between the police team and Divine Word University students at the Ron Albert Oval was a strong arm-wrestle with both sides giving little away except their poor completion of sets.
Diwai front man, Graham Paulus said the DWU students gave the game away with poor options and would do their best when they take on the winners of the mid-week match between Raibus Panthers and Hawks.
Royals will now play minor premiers, LBC Warriors on Sunday to confirm who books the first grand final berth in the tussle for the inaugural Globe Cup sponsored by Globe Manufacturing Ltd (formerly James Barnes Ltd).
Warriors, who are on bye, welcomed the return of their three representative players, Ezekiel Roka, Roger Koyomu and Kembol Kaikipae from Northern Zone duties in Goroka and coach Chris Sibet said they were geared up for a good game.
Panthers and Hawks are playing the mid-week match after they were not able to complete their game on Sunday because it was getting dark with Panthers leading 16-8 and 15 minutes was left on the clock.
In the U19 division, Royals defeated Panthers 12-4 and will also play minor premiers Warriors on Sunday.
Diwai forfeited Norths and will advance to play Panthers.

Madang to host two sports events

MADANG will have a busy sporting scheduled next month with the PNG Football Association and the PNG Netball Federation staging their respective championships in the tourist township.
Madang has accepted the honour to host this year’s National U20 men’s tournament from Sept 8-12 while netball will stage its championship from Sept 28 to Oct 3.
PNG Netball Federation secretary Julianne Maliaki-Leka said this week that so far 15 associations had confirmed to take part at the netball championships.
She said the netball championship will also coincide with the annual general meeting. High on the agenda is the election of new executives. The current term of PNGNF executives headed by Emily Taule ends after the championships.
In soccer, newly-elected president of Madang Soccer Association Conrad Waduna confirmed from Madang that his association would host the U20 soccer championships.
He said the organising committee was in place to see the visitors enjoy the true spirit of Madang Pasin Kagin.
The tournament is sanctioned by the PNG Football Association.
The tournament will see the cream of youth footballers from member associations vying to take the title away from last year’s inaugural winners and hosts, Madang.
PNGFA general secretary Dimirit Mileng said only member affiliates were eligible to attend by selecting a side to represent their association.
Other associations who are not affiliates of PNG Football Association are not eligible to attend.
Teams that are not from member affiliates but were officially invited by the secretariat office will attend the tournament.
He said teams from member associations and invited teams should fill a nomination form and submit together with the deposit slip of the nomination fee.
The deadline for submitting the nomination form is Aug 30.
All forms should be faxed to 323-2591 or 475-1399 and if you have problems getting through these numbers call the secretariat on 7622-9484.
The team nomination fee K500 and must be paid into account no. 1000 146 403 in any branch of BSP bank.
Mileng said the deadline for payment of nomination fee is Aug 27 at close of business.
PNGFA will not accept nominations after the deadline.
He added that the team managers were directed to assist with sending a name list of 20 players and four officials to Madang Soccer Association on fax 422-3698.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kapris to stand trial in Madang

By JOSHUA ARLO, Post Courier
HIGH profile robber and convicted criminal William Kapris is expected to travel this month to Madang to face trial for the armed robbery of the Bank South Pacific Madang branch.
He is expected to appear before Justice David Cannings at the National Court in Madang.
State prosecutors confirmed in court with Justice Cannings last month at the National Court in Waigani that arrangements were being made with authorities to have Kapris in Madang before August 10, the expected trial date.
Four other co-accused remanded at the Bomana jail with Kapris will also travel for the same case. They will join nine other suspects allegedly involved in the same robbery who are being detained in Madang.
More than K2 million was stolen from the bank on July 5, 2008 when a gang held hostage bank workers and escaped with a nine hour head start before police were alerted.
This began a massive man hunt by police who caught him travelling with a group to the Aroma coast in Central Province 13 days later.
All the accused are charged with using violence and stealing K2,407,315.35 from the Madang BSP branch manager when armed with dangerous weapons.
He has still to face trial in connection to the armed holdup of the rural BSP Kerema branch in the Gulf Province which was done two months before the one in Madang.
The gang split in two, with one in Port Moresby to kidnap and hold hostage children of a bank executive as others went to Kerema to get co-operation to access the monies.
It is understood that more than a million kina was stolen.
They escaped to Port Moresby via a dinghy and by road.
Police allege that Kapris is the brain behind these two Hollywood-like bank robberies.
He was on the run after escaping from the Bomana jail and allegedly committed these crimes, plus the armed robbery of the Metal Refinery Operations (MRO) in which several gold bars worth more than K2 million and a substantial amount of cash was stolen.
He pleaded guilty to this robber and was sentenced to five years.
However the National Court, using its discretion, suspended the sentence and imposed a three-year good behaviour bond on him when he is released from prison.
State prosecutors have filed a Supreme Court challenge against the National Court’s decision on penalty which is still to be heard.