TOP News

Australia: PNG minister, police hit out at Australia over extradition request for alleged fraudster and Cairns resident Samson Jubi

ASIC lead investigator tells Melissa Caddick inquest she was not responsible for alleged fraudster's death

  ASIC lead investigator tells Melissa Caddick inquest she was not responsible for alleged fraudster's death The corporate watchdog's lead investigator into Melissa Caddick's alleged Ponzi scheme tells an inquest she does not feel responsible for the accused fraudster's death and was "doing her job".Ms Caddick vanished in November 2020, hours after the Australian Investment and Securities Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raided her Dover Heights home, in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Samson Jubi was granted Australian permanent residency more than a decade ago. (Facebook) © Provided by ABC NEWS Samson Jubi was granted Australian permanent residency more than a decade ago. (Facebook)

A Papua New Guinea government minister and top justice officials say they are "extremely frustrated" with Australia for harbouring a Cairns resident wanted for one of the biggest alleged frauds in the country's legal history.

In an early test for the Albanese government's Pacific strategy, PNG Immigration Minister Bryan Kramer and the country's national police force have spoken out to the ABC about "unacceptable" delays in Australia's handling of an extradition request for PNG citizen Samson Jubi.

London honours the African who fought British rule

  London honours the African who fought British rule John Chilembwe led opposition to British rule in Malawi - now he's getting a statue in Trafalgar Square.But this time, it is not a monument to one of the UK's war heroes or kings. Instead it will be a larger-than-life statue of Malawian Baptist preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe, who fought against British colonial rule.

Australia has spent 18 months considering a draft request to extradite Mr Jubi, a Cairns resident who PNG police say is a chief suspect in a fraud case scheduled for trial in two weeks.

Mr Jubi, a lawyer and businessman with ties to senior PNG politicians, is wanted over the alleged misappropriation of 268 million kina ($117 million) from impoverished communities in the country's Western Province.

PNG police allege he conspired to funnel the money from a trust fund set up to benefit tens of thousands of villagers affected by Australian mining giant BHP's environmental catastrophe at the Ok Tedi mine in PNG more than 20 years ago.

ABC Investigations understands Mr Jubi, 53, has travelled freely, flying to Singapore this month, while PNG officials have become increasingly frustrated with the stalled extradition talks.

Comanchero bikie Tarek Zahed's dead brother Omar was a police 'SNITCH'

  Comanchero bikie Tarek Zahed's dead brother Omar was a police 'SNITCH' Omar Zahed, 39, and his brother Tarek, 41, were shot in a hail of at least 20 bullets as they left the Bodyfit Gym in Auburn, western Sydney, on May 10. Omar bled out at the scene and died - while his older brother miraculously survived ten bullet wounds, including through his eye. Omar has long been thought to have been accidentally caught up in the underworld hit, however, new details of his cooperation with detectives have now been revealed.The NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted a suppression order to a judgment where police described the 39-year-old as an 'increasingly reliable' source.

Mr Kramer this week cancelled Mr Jubi's passport, telling the ABC he would make a formal request to the Australian Border Force to deport him.

"This person is alleged to be the principal architect behind one of our largest financial crimes in our history," said Mr Kramer, who oversaw the case when he was the minister for police and justice.

"For him to be able to remain in Australia to avoid prosecution, it is an issue of concern … especially given Australia's cooperation on improving governance and law enforcement, only to be falling short when making decisions about a person taking haven in Australia.

"It is unacceptable that it has taken the [Australian] attorney-general's department up to 18 months to make a firm position on a request for an extradition, without actually saying that we have … not met the standard requirements of Australia's legislation.

"Today, we continue to wait. That may go on for two years. It is something that we are extremely frustrated about."

Austin police morale cratered after city defunded police, embraced BLM: Survey

  Austin police morale cratered after city defunded police, embraced BLM: Survey Morale and trust in city leadership has plummeted in the Austin Police Department, according to a new survey, two years after the city slashed the police budget.The Listening to the Workforce Survey, first reported by KXAN-TV, showed morale in the Austin Police Department below the citywide average in every area including only 20% of APD employees saying their department was well managed, 17% saying they felt comfortable challenging the way things are done, and 11% agreeing that "change is managed well" in the city.

Mr Jubi was granted Australian permanent residency more than 10 years ago.

He has been living in Cairns since leaving PNG in 2015.

ABC Investigations tracked him down to his home, where he was living with his family.

The ABC has confirmed he bought the $240,000 home in cash in June 2020, after the alleged fraud.

The purchase was a turnaround in fortunes for Mr Jubi, whose previous Cairns home was repossessed five years earlier after he defaulted on a mortgage, owing ANZ Bank $296,000.

Mr Jubi declined the offer of an interview or the opportunity to respond on the record to written questions, including about how he funded his Cairns property purchase.

But he fiercely maintained his innocence, claiming he was the victim of a political witch-hunt.

He said he always aimed to help the communities affected by the Ok Tedi mine disaster.

'Inability to assist' at odds with anti-corruption goals, PNG police say

PNG's national police force has also condemned Australia's handling of the case, in an extraordinary public intervention into the confidential extradition talks.

Cairns mother rams group of suspected teenage thieves with her minivan as crime wave hits QLD town

  Cairns mother rams group of suspected teenage thieves with her minivan as crime wave hits QLD town A Queensland mother has put a stop to a group of suspected teenage thieves after spying their car 'loitering on her street' and ramming it so they couldn't make a getaway.Natasha Baddock, 48, was leaving for her kindergarten run on Friday morning when she noticed a suspicious white hatchback 'loitering' in her Bentley Park street in Cairns.

In a statement to the ABC, the Royal PNG Constabulary accused Australia of undermining crucial anti-corruption work and aid spending in the Pacific, which totals nearly $500 million in PNG each year.

"Australia's apparent inability to assist in this most basic of legal processes does not sit well with its broader anti-corruption and security intentions in the region," a statement from the Royal PNG Constabulary said.

"With all that has happened to destabilise the region in recent months, PNG authorities perhaps have a valid basis to expect a greater level of cooperation from Australia on issues relating to crime and corruption."

The ABC understands PNG's Attorney-General and Justice Secretary, Dr Eric Kwa, also wrote to the Australian attorney-general's department (AGD) this year to raise concerns about the delays and stress that Australia must not be a safe haven for alleged criminals.

Anti-corruption experts have long accused Australia of failing to do enough to prevent itself from being a haven for Papua New Guineans suspected of crimes and laundering money.

Former Australian Federal Police officer John Chevis, an expert in corruption and money laundering who has advised PNG law enforcement, told the ABC the delays undermined the interests of both countries and the region.

Mexico Judge Halts Extradition of Jalisco Cartel New Generation Founder

  Mexico Judge Halts Extradition of Jalisco Cartel New Generation Founder A judge has granted a provisional suspension to the founder of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG), Erick Valencia Salazar, alias ‘El 85’, to stop his extradition to the […]The magistrate has granted this appeal in favor of Valencia, so that the related articles in the International Extradition Law and the extradition treaty between Mexico and the US do not apply, reported Mexican newspaper 'Milenio'.

"The process seems to be taking a very long time," he said.

"These sorts of mutual legal assistance requests are notoriously slow, but this is now being played out in a very different security environment to that which existed a year ago.

"The administration of justice is one of the areas that Australia has tried to assist Papua New Guinea and other countries in our region with for many years, so to have these issues play out so slowly when it comes to actually putting the rubber to the road doesn't serve Australia's interests."

The Albanese government has been scrambling to boost Australia's influence in the Pacific and is negotiating a security pact with PNG after China signed a wide-ranging security deal with Solomon Islands in April.

Six to stand trial in landmark case

Mr Kramer and the PNG police force fear the delay is hampering the upcoming fraud trial, in which some of the country's most well-connected legal elite stand accused.

Six people are due to stand trial on fraud and money laundering charges in PNG's National Court, including high-profile Australian barrister Greg Sheppard and Gloria Salika, the daughter of the country's Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika.

Mr Sheppard, a former Queensland Crown prosecutor, is vowing to fight the charges.

He is considered close to former PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill, who he successfully defended last year in a separate corruption trial.

The Port Moresby-based lawyer has managed and financed his children's ARIA-award-winning Brisbane band, Sheppard.

Fraudster Jasmine Vella-Arpaci, 24, fleeced elderly Aussies in $3million scam faces court

  Fraudster Jasmine Vella-Arpaci, 24, fleeced elderly Aussies in $3million scam faces court Fraudster Jasmine Vella-Arpaci, 24, pleaded guilty after the international syndicate she was a part of stole millions from Australian superannuation and share accounts. She was left feeling like a fraudster herself while trying to convince companies that she was the real shareholder. Jasmine Vella-Arpaci, 24, is the only conspirator to have been charged over the fraud, which led to the group obtaining more than $3 million from superannuation accounts and $238,000 from share trading.

He is also known for a 2014 undercover sting in which he was recorded on video appearing to explain how to get away with bribing leaders.

Mr Sheppard denied advising on bribery and money laundering, saying his comments in the video were hypothetical.

Australian and PNG legal officials have been working on the draft extradition request for Mr Jubi since March 2021, a month after a Port Moresby court first issued a warrant for his arrest.

PNG officials said the AGD advised in January that it was satisfied with the draft request, after a series of changes to meet Australia's legal requirements.

But the ABC understands the AGD has told PNG the draft request is caught up in a legal review, holding up the issuing of any formal extradition request.

An AGD spokesperson told the ABC it was not appropriate to comment on confidential extradition discussions, but the department aimed to ensure proposed extradition requests fully complied with Australia's legal requirements to withstand any challenge.

"The Australian government takes its international crime cooperation relationships seriously and strives to assist other countries in tackling crime where possible, while ensuring compliance with Australian law," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Fight over funds intended for victims of environmental catastrophe

The Ok Tedi compensation funds have been at the centre of a political stoush for control in PNG since they were established in the late 1990s in response to one of the world's worst mine disasters.

The copper and gold mine — which BHP co-owned with the PNG government until selling its stake in 2002 — sent hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste into the local river system in the 1980s and 90s, contaminating fish and crops, and devastating the area's economy.

BHP and the PNG government created trust accounts in the late 1990s to compensate landowners from the mine's profits.

NBL Round 2 Talking Points: Harvey fires as Hawks edge Phoenix, Will 36ers win NBA now? Kings import is legit

  NBL Round 2 Talking Points: Harvey fires as Hawks edge Phoenix, Will 36ers win NBA now? Kings import is legit When it comes to NBA expansion, forget about Seattle and Las Vegas, the clear option is Adelaide. Nobody should be surprised by the 36ers, or any team for that matter, taking it to the NBA teams in pre-season and scoring the occasional upset. The way in which they did it was extraordinary – the NBL tourists shot 24 from 43 at a whopping 55.8% from three against the Suns in Phoenix. They were in the collective zone with imports Craig Randall II (nine of 17) and Robert Franks (six of 10) bombing from well beyond the exended NBA three-point line.

But villagers and PNG leaders say none of the money has ever reached the affected communities.

The fund at the centre of Mr Jubi's case, the Western Province People's Dividend Trust Fund, was managed by the PNG government until an organisation co-directed by Mr Jubi, the Ok Tedi Fly River Development Foundation (OTFRDF), won control of it in legal bids in 2018 and 2020.

Prosecutors will allege Mr Jubi obtained the funds by pretending to represent about 147,000 landowners in PNG's Fly River region as the head of the foundation.

But lawyers for the OTFRDF argue the foundation legally obtained the funds through court orders, and its directors are the victims of a corrupt and politically motivated investigation.

Arrest warrants seen by the ABC allege Mr Jubi conspired to transfer 268 million Kina to accounts held by the OTFRDF and Mr Sheppard's law firm, Young & Williams, between 2018 and 2020.

The warrants allege he received a total of 5 million kina ($2.2 million) into his personal bank account.

In a pre-trial statement to the National Court, prosecutors allege the OTFRDF approved "extraordinary legal fees" with no invoices to justify them and made payments to Mr Sheppard's firm and a company owned by Mr Jubi to disguise "kickbacks or unlawful payments".

The defence alleges the prosecution is an abuse of process, claiming the investigators and arresting officers received bribes to target the OTFRDF.

Those allegations are yet to be tested in court.

Mr Jubi and Mr Sheppard have found powerful allies, including PNG's former opposition leader Belden Namah, who has accused Prime Minister James Marape of condoning a corrupt investigation.

Transparency International PNG chairman Peter Aitsi told the ABC the frustrations over the case showed Australia needed to cooperate better with PNG to meet its goal of assisting the country in the administration of justice.

"On the Australian side, it [the relationship] needs to move beyond token engagement to a real, genuine, open and serious engagement where the truth can be told to each other," he said.

"People in Papua New Guinea have had enough of corruption, we've had enough of mismanagement, we've had enough of people who are getting away with stealing public monies.

"We want our agencies to be effective and to actually be able to demonstrate some serious progress in terms of addressing some of these issues."

The trial is scheduled to begin in PNG's National Court on October 11.

NBL Round 2 Talking Points: Harvey fires as Hawks edge Phoenix, Will 36ers win NBA now? Kings import is legit .
When it comes to NBA expansion, forget about Seattle and Las Vegas, the clear option is Adelaide. Nobody should be surprised by the 36ers, or any team for that matter, taking it to the NBA teams in pre-season and scoring the occasional upset. The way in which they did it was extraordinary – the NBL tourists shot 24 from 43 at a whopping 55.8% from three against the Suns in Phoenix. They were in the collective zone with imports Craig Randall II (nine of 17) and Robert Franks (six of 10) bombing from well beyond the exended NBA three-point line.

See also