PNG: Lafanama denies signing contract

Alan Bradley abradley1 at
Wed Feb 6 05:21:46 MST 2002

Here is something kind of sad from Papua New Guinea.

Peti Lafanama is a former leader of the radical nationalist group Melsol.
He played a prominent role in the Sandline mercenary crisis, becoming
probably the most prominent civilian opposition leader.  With warrants
issued for his arrest, he escaped to his home area in the highlands.  During
the election precipitated by the crisis, he ran for parliament, and won
easily.  Unfortunately, he subsequently helped install a completely
unacceptable and more than usually corrupt bourgeois government.  This
resulted in him splitting from Melsol.

The PNG parliament includes a mixture of members representing local
constituencies and "provincial members" (1 per province), representing
entire provinces.  Both kinds of member sit in a single chamber.

In Eastern Highlands province, the provincial member is also the provincial

The province system in PNG was a late addition to the constitution, made as
a concession to Bougainville (North Solomons province).  The provinces don't
have a great deal of power compared to the central government, but are
remarkably effective at producing corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

>From the Post-Courier ( ):

Wednesday 06th, February, 2002

Lafanama denies signing contract

EASTERN Highlands Governor Peti Lafanama has denied signing a contract to
the value of K320,000 for the publication of a biography of former leader
James Yanepa.
Mr Lafanama said he made commitments to Mr Yanepa before his death that he
would help the Yanepa's family business, rename the Lufa High School to
Yanepa High School, and write his biography.
Mr Lafanama said if there was any decision made then it must have been the
decision of the Provincial Executive Council.
When told by the Post-Courier that there were documents which purported to
show that he was one of three who signed the contract, he said he could not
remember signing a contract. He later said that his government was trying to
find some money to try to publish the book and that the education division
had the money.
Mr Lafanama said the book when completed, was to go back to the schools
anyway so the money had to come from the school subsidies.
He said because the book was not completed and no money was paid last year,
K100,000 had been allocated for the book in this year's budget.
The Post-Courier has documents which state that Mr Lafanama, the then acting
administrator Charles Goto and author and current Administrator Munare
Unyassi were signatories to the contract.

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