|ONE TROPHY PROPERTY PURCHASED BY|
QUESTIONABLE MONEY FROM THE PNG
It was quite odd that Cueball MacKenzie reported the Cairns link to the story with a mixture of surprise and shock. Shocked and surprised that corrupt money had found its way to Cairns, when even MacKenzie's program and radio station have links to the "corruption facilitators" around Cairns.
One such PNG investor was the Petroleum Minister William
Duma, who paid cash for a Cairns property purchased from agent Shane Trimby. Trimby himself admits surprise at the speed of the cash transaction and wondered where the money came for - but did nothing to inquire with the AFP.
Of note is that a large number of the PNG government workers invested in Cairns are in and around the energy business. Duma was at the heart of the Exxon projects in PNG, as was former Cairns mayor Kevin Byrne, who joined the LPG project as a "program manager". Byrne has deep ties in PNG - he's also been associated with Interoil projects there, and is currently Chairman of Omega Group - who's big achievement to date looks to be a solar-powered wind sock at the Aurukun Council airstrip. Byrne's partner in the Omega operation is Dennis Crossley, a expat Brit who's a real estate agent as is Crossley's wife, Helen. Both were associated with LJ Hooker Commercial in Cairns until recently, when they both moved to Ray White Commercial.
Both LJ Hooker and Ray White have been agents involved in the sale of property to PNG nationals in Cairns. As is the Rex Theater heritage-destructor Robert Smith, who we've previously shown spruiking Cairns property to PNG audiences, despite his sordid past in Cairns.
And all have been advertisers on 4CA.
In his discussion of the story, Cueball ordered up an interview with former mayor Byrne - or maybe Kevin ordered it up, trying to get in front of an issue that involves him on many levels. Byrne, who claims to all that he's an "expert" and PNG insider, refused to go the extra mile and name PNG officials he knows to be laundering ill-gotten gains in Cairns. In addition to his energy connections, Byrne continues to operate "Pacific Asia Solutions", an influence-peddling operation (despite the fact that he's taken down the website at the reported objection from InterOil management).
What's clear from the 4 Corners report is the key to the continued corruption is an apparent corrupt legal and judicial system. Like the Mafia in the 1930's and 1940's, the criminals have realised that they can ignore auditors, prosecutors, and other impediments placed by the government. Owning the judges makes the rest of them irrelevant. As 4 Corners reported, even REPORTS produced about corruption can be immediately suppressed, protecting the criminals.
Eremas Wartoto, a PNG businessman connected to many of the politicians was under indictment there for some time. He was hiding in Cairns using a 457 visa, applied for by his car rental agency and issued by the Gillard government, as a "skilled worker" in general company management. Who's local signature was on this 457 visa application?
It's hard to believe that a talkshow host in Cairns for as long as MacKenzie isn't aware of the "trophy" properties purchased by PNG investors in Cairns - especially as so many of the real estate deals are being done by his mates and advertisers. This has been going on for years and years, and the reasons are all-too clear. So who's he protecting?
With the Billion$ in mining and petroleum royalties pouring into PNG, these people should be living lives of luxury. Instead PNG is near the top of the world's poorest people. Such government corruption inevitably triggers social unrest.