Monday, December 05, 2011

Paul Tiensten queries ‘watch’ list


POMIO MP Paul Tiensten has put the government on notice for endorsing what he termed as the “hi-hacking” by Air Niugini of 33 prominent citizens, The National reports.
He was referring at the weekend to the National Executive Council giving unila­teral powers to Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim directing Air Niugini to monitor the movement of the citizens, inclu­ding himself, who were being investigated for alleged misuse of public funds.
“It is tantamount to government-sanctioned legal spying on its citizens,” he said.
“Our constitutional rights have been impinged upon. It is a criminal act.”
Air Niugini last week ordered an investigation into the leaking of the letter to The National. A three-member internal inquiry team is looking into the matter.
“While Air Niugini CEO Wasantha Kumarasiri said it has a zero-tolerance policy on the leaking of highly-sensitive and confidential documents, let me remind him that the national flag-carrier is in breach of customer-operator trust by releasing passenger information to a third party,” Tiensten said.
“The government, through Air Niugini, has hijacked our rights. Both should not be allowed to get away with their devious actions.”
“Have other commercial airlines been issued similar instructions?
“The prime minister should either rescind the decision, which is illegal, or I will sue.
“If they have done this to us, who else have they done it to? I would not be surprised if they have done it to Sir Michael Somare and his family.”
Tiensten urged the 32 others on the list to seek legal advice for the breach of their rights and invasion of privacy.
“The Ombudsman Commission should no longer remain silent because of possible breaches of the Leadership Code by the watch list perpetrators,” he said.
“What government would spy on its citizens in this day and age? This is a government which boasts about fighting corruption and upholding good governance and accountability,” he said.
“I can assure the public that the legally-constituted government, which the O’Neill-Namah group ousted on Aug 2, would not have stooped so low to resort to illegal clandestine operations against its citizens.
“It is my understanding that any form of clandestine activities must be approved by the NEC after receiving compelling evidence that national security is threatened, that a serious crime is about to be committed against the state.
“What other organisations had been issued similar instructions by Koim and sanctioned by the NEC?
“How long has this legalised spying been going on for? Have similar spying instructions being issued for other citizens?
“Sam Koim continues preaching about all of us who have been charged as being innocent until proven guilty in court. So, why is he continuing to conduct this clandestine operation on us?
“What is happening in PNG is on the same level as the phone-hacking fiasco in the United Kingdom which led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper.”

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