The Konebada Petroleum Park Authority – A ‘golden bowl’ for who?

The release of our article, Is Konebada Petroleum Park Authority a scam? Has generated public interest and discussions both in the mainstream and social media. Affected customary landowners from Motu and Koitabu villages within the declared zone of Konebada Petroleum Park (Gazette No. G76/2017) have also come out expressing their concerns about the declaration and its implications.

Dr Kristian Lasslet is the Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences, Ulster University, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. As specialist in anti-corruption research and forensic methodologies and a keen observer of land and property scams in developing countries, Dr Lasslett has been following the analysis of our researchers, response by the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning and reaction from the public through the mainstream and social media on the Konebada Petroleum Park (KPP) Zone declaration.

Dr Lasslett in his blog article has stated that evidence extracted from internal company records, Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) corporate registry, and an Inquiry Report by the Public Accounts Committee, point to a range of irregular transactions and governance weaknesses within the KPPA.

The article revealed that the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority (KPPA) initially conducted its business through a private limited liability company, KPPA Limited.

“This company suffered serious criticism from the Public Accounts Committee for its alleged, opaque spending, irregular transactions, improper use of trust account funds, and notable lack of impact.”

Dr Lasslett also stated that the Authority (KPPA) although on a statutory footing since 2008, still continues to conduct business through private limited liability companies, including Petroleum Park Holdings Limited, Pacific (PNG) Oil and Gas Limited. These companies are connected to businessmen implicated in a range of questionable land transactions, including Paga Hill Estate development.

The article also highlighted that KPPA, through its senior management team, have disposed of share assets held in Pacific (PNG) Oil and Gas Limited.

It is not clear from the documents submitted to the IPA, whether Ministerial approval was acquired or any sort of professional vetting was employed prior to this sale.

Dr Lasslett added that evidence to date suggests that the initial finding of the Public Accounts Committee have gone largely unheeded which serves as a timely reminder that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is yet to be established.

He concludes by stating that the answer to the original question: The Konebada Petroleum Park Authority – A ‘golden bowl’ for who? still remains open for more discussion.

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