PNG Prime Minister has announced a ban on all foreign advisers

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Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has announced a ban on all foreign advisers working for his government, saying they make local staff lazy, and they could be spying.

Liam Cochrane reporting for the ABC

The ban, which will take effect on January 1, 2016, will significantly affect the several hundred Australian advisers helping the government as part of a $500 million dollar aid program.

During a session of PNG’s parliament, prime minister Peter O’Neill was asked about the decline of his country’s national intelligence organisation and the possibility foreign advisers were spying on PNG.

Mr O’Neill said it was important to rebuild the nation’s spy agency.

“We need to revamp it, we need to fund it, work closely with many intelligence agencies around the world and we are working closely with some of the best today,” he said.

“They’ve already come in and they’ve already starting helping rebuilding capacity within the national intelligence organisation and at my invitation.”

Mr O’Neill then dropped a bombshell, clearly aimed at Australian advisers working in areas such as policing, law and justice, treasury, planning and health.

“We’ve got people working in many of our departments that are working as advisers and it has led to two things,” he said.

“One is making our own people quite lazy. They’re not able to take over civil decisions, they are over-dependent on consultants and advisers and sometimes many of those decisions are not … in the best interests of our nation.

“So our government has taken a deliberate decision that by the end of the year, all foreign consultants and advisers, their contracts will end by 31st of December.”

Mr O’Neill then took aim at one particular group of advisers — the 70-odd Australian Federal Police officers working to improve PNG’s law and order situation.

“If we need to recruit experts, it will be recruited by PNG government as an employee of the PNG government,” he said.

“That includes policemen, that includes all the other consultants in every line department.”

Australia is the dominant aid partner to PNG and the announcement of a ban comes at a time of tension between the two countries over the Manus Island detention centre and a diplomatic blunder regarding Bougainville.

‘PNG acting in frustration it does not control advisers’

Jenny Haywood-Jones, the Myer Foundation Melanesia program director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, said she was surprised the collecting of intelligence could be connected to advisers.

“Of course governments in the region and in particular in Papua New Guinea know that people that are advisers answerable to the Australian Government are reporting back to the Australian Government but I wouldn’t regard that as intelligence or spying,” she said.

“I think perhaps it’s reacting to a little bit of suspicion or frustration that the PNG government doesn’t have control of all the people that work … essentially for the government or in delivering government services.”

Ms Haywood-Jones said a ban on Australian advisers would have a dramatic impact on the aid program throwing staff contracts and long-term development into chaos.

The announcement appeared to take Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by surprise.

In a written statement to the ABC, a spokeswoman said just this: “We are aware of the prime minister’s comments. We will be discussing this with the government of Papua New Guinea.”

Bougainville News : Patrick Nisira VP new Ministry to manage polictics on Bougainville

Nisira

“I am fully aware of the challenges ahead of us in my Ministry. Since politics is largely influenced by perceptions, feelings and ideas, it is one very difficult aspect of any human society because no two humans feel, perceive and reason identically the same. My department must be given the priority in human and financial resource because the referendum activity is going to be a major political activity of this term of government and if not properly resourced and managed, can pose serious risks to the Bougainville peace process,”

Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Minister of the newly formed Ministry of Peace building, Referendum and Veteran Affairs Patrick Nisira commenting on reports his Ministry will manage internal, national and international politics of Bougainville.

When introducing his Ministry to members of the Bougainville House of Representatives recently, Nisira explained that unlike other ministries that will respond to tangible needs of the people, his Ministry would deal with delivering political processes and outcomes for Bougainville through peace-building, reconciliation and by managing the veteran affairs.

“I am fully aware of the challenges ahead of us in my Ministry. Since politics is largely influenced by perceptions, feelings and ideas, it is one very difficult aspect of any human society because no two humans feel, perceive and reason identically the same.”

Nisira congratulated the Bougainville Executive Council (BEC) for integrating the Peace and Reconciliation, Bougainville Referendum and Veteran Affairs offices into one department and also appointing former President of Bougainville James Tanis as the Acting Secretary of the department

“My department must be given the priority in human and financial resource because the referendum activity is going to be a major political activity of this term of government and if not properly resourced and managed, can pose serious risks to the Bougainville peace process,” Nisira said.

In outlining the broad framework of his ministry, Nisira assured that whilst the Bougainville Peace Agreement ends at the referendum period, peace building on Bougainville will continue to the post referendum period, regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

In relation to referendum preparations, the Minister called on the Bougainville parliamentarians to provide personal leadership to ensure that their constituencies are at referendum ready mode.

He added that while that exercise is taking place on the ground, Bougainville leadership must as a matter of priority engage with the top political leadership of PNG to agree on the broad principles of the conduct of the referendum.

“Bougainville and Papua New Guinea must now agree on the date of the conduct of the referendum, the questions to be put, the implementing agency, International observers and the process that will lead to the ratification of the referendum vote.

These decisions are political decisions that must be resolved politically by political leaders from both sides,” Nisira said.

In regard to the Veteran Affairs function of his Ministry, Nisira assured veterans in Bougainville that he is committed to strengthen the Regional Veterans Associations and to focus on reintegration and engagement of veterans in economic activities.

He called on recently elected Veteran Affairs members for North Ben Malatan, Central Bougainville member Noah Doko and South Bougainville member Thomas Tari to assist his Ministry to prepare Bougainville for a successful referendum on Bougainville’s future political status.

Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Minister of the newly formed Ministry of Peace building, Referendum and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Patrick Nisira

 

Bougainville Economic News: Grand Chief Momis wants to jumpstart economic activities that will transform to economic growth

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“Let us be realistic and practical this time. Let us learn to accept realities and work for solutions and alternatives. Let us stop dwelling on problems, but instead come up with solutions,” President Momis said.

“We all know that we have been denied what is constitutionally and legally ours on matters of funding. This government will continue to work through diplomatic channels and if necessary, the courts to demand what is due us,”

“With this in mind, we work on the premise and framework that at this time we have limited resources

ABG President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis economic statement (see below )

The Autonomous Bougainville Government’s third House met on 21st July) for the first time as it begins its five year tenure.

In his first address to the third House’s first sitting, ABG President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis told the new members that they all share the same honor and privilege of having been chosen by the people of Bougainville to lead and provide them with a better life and a better future.

“Our people see in us the workers with responsibility for the realization of their dreams and aspirations, more than ever they want us to amplify their voice as they shout to be freed from the grip of poverty and marginalized life,” the President said.

“They want us to create meaningful and sustainable projects for them to breathe a little and ease their pain and suffering, they want us to create laws, policies and programs that will raise their dignity as persons,” he said.

The President went on to say that the people would like their leaders to guarantee that their children of the next generation shall overcome better than they are today, they want us to get them out of the depths of the poverty so they can gradually enjoy in the next years decency in food, clothing, shelter and education for their children.

President Momis said that he expects the third Autonomous Bougainville House of Representatives to make a difference as he reiterated the six major tasks that his government would be addressing.

The six major tasks outlined by the Momis led Government are Unification of all Bougainvilleans, Improving welfare of all Bougainvilleans by promoting appropriate economic development, Securing Bougainville’s future by fully implementing the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement: achieving full autonomy, preparing for the referendum and achieving complete weapons disposal.

These also include Promoting good governance and the rule of law and ending corruption, Public Awareness and Improving basic services, as outlined by the President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis during his inaugural address in June.

“During the Crises we were one, we stood our ground and we fought and made sacrifices but unfortunately instead of emerging as a rejuvenated community we disintegrated and went our different ways, we were all weakened and paralyzed by the absence of a culture we once had as Melanesians,” the President said.

“Today I stand before you to pose this challenge to each and every one of you, let us not fail our people, let us not abandon our people, we have heard enough, seen enough, discussed enough-this is the time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and soil our hands.

Momis on Economic Development

Since the formation of the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in June a new Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development was created in order to fast track economic projects and activities.

ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis said that creating favourable economic conditions will jumpstart economic activities that will transform to economic growth and in turn will provide the basis for the ABG to have the basis for fiscal self-reliance through its own taxes.

“Let us be realistic and practical this time. Let us learn to accept realities and work for solutions and alternatives. Let us stop dwelling on problems, but instead come up with solutions,” President Momis said.

“We all know that we have been denied what is constitutionally and legally ours on matters of funding. This government will continue to work through diplomatic channels and if necessary, the courts to demand what is due us,” the President added

“With this in mind, we work on the premise and framework that at this time we have limited resources.

The President has already issued directives to the ABG Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development to start an inventory of what it has in resources, identify all potential internal sources of revenue and determine the gap between what we have and what we want to achieve.

The two ministries must also act on narrowing the gap, formulate policies and laws to raise revenue, implement policies and laws on control and proper fund management, increase savings mechanisms in our operation and define guarantees for our domestic and international investors.

“I must make it clear, here and now, that we need both those domestic and foreign investors. Domestic investors in Bougainville are already doing much. We have significant local investment in large and small stores, in guest houses, in PMVs, in construction of buildings and roads and many other sectors,” the President said

These local investors who have taken many risks since the conflict ended, need for more support and encouragement and developing plans and mechanisms for the incentive they need must be a major focus of our new ministry.

For the most part, foreign investors will be encouraged to operate in other sectors where domestic investors do not have the capacity.

“Fiscal self-reliance is a tall order at this point in time. Yet, I firmly believe that when we work together purposively and want it badly enough we can achieve it,” Momis said

Bougainville Independence Referendum 2019: What are the risks and challenges -Report

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We are the indigenous people of our motherland Bougainville. We alone have to decide our future, our destiny. No outsider can decide for us.”

John Momis, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, 20132

The ABG President, Hon Dr. Chief John Momis has nominated 2019 as the year for the referendum vote to be conducted, but this is yet to be agreed upon by the PNG Prime Minister and his cabinet

A vigorous awareness campaign on the issue of referendum is a must do exercise by the Autonomous Bougainville Government if the people are to be well informed of the issues that confronts them in regards to referendum and independence according to the Chairman of the Referendum, Peace and Reconciliation Committee and Member for Selau Constituency, Hon Joseph Watawi echoed this during his recent address to people of Hagogohe.

Recently Canberra published a paper on the Bougainville independence Referendum

DOWNLOAD COPY HERE Woodbury paper (IPSD version)

This paper analyses some of the key political and strategic dynamics of Bougainville’s promised referendum, due to be held between 2015 and 2020. It identifies a number of significant risks, primarily located in the period before and after the vote. These are connected to likely frustrations should legal impediments be raised to the holding of the referendum, issues related to the resumption of mining and the role of spoilers, and differing expectations between the PNG Government and Bougainvilleans over the outcome and how it will be implemented.

The paper argues that much can and should be done between now and the referendum to help mitigate these challenges, requiring pro-active support from key states in the region.

Between 2015 and 2020, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is scheduled to hold a referendum on its future political status—that is, whether it should remain part of the southwest Pacific state of Papua New Guinea (PNG) or progress to full independence. The path to Bougainville’s referendum has been long, complex and costly.3 Bougainville’s secessionist movement has evolved over many decades but the complications caused by a lucrative but environmentallydestructive mine, a civil war which killed thousands of people, and a national government reluctant to set precedents for other provinces, has ensured the question of Bougainville’s political status has remained a difficult and divisive issue.

The ‘Bougainville Peace Agreement’, signed in 2001, guaranteed Bougainvilleans a referendum which would include the option of independence, following a prescribed period of autonomous government.4 It is yet to be determined, however, whether the referendum proves to be the final resolution to Bougainville’s struggles or whether it has simply facilitated a temporary lull in hostilities.

This paper will analyse some of the key political and strategic dynamics of Bougainville’s promised referendum. It will identify foreseeable risks and challenges that may be encountered during the preparation, conduct and aftermath of the vote.

The paper is set out in four main parts, followed by a conclusion. The first part provides an overview of Bougainville, the crisis, key provisions of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, and the significance of the referendum. The second part analyses factors that could affect Bougainville during the prereferendum period. This includes issues associated with achieving the preconditions for the plebiscite—namely, disarmament and good governance—and problems associated with expediting the resumption of mining to boost fiscal selfsufficiency.

The third part focuses on the referendum period itself. It discusses what is required for a ‘free and fair’ election, flags the potential for ‘spoilers’, and the need for appropriate security arrangements.5 The fourth part covers the postreferendum period, focusing on the critical first 12 months following the vote. This is when the durability of the outcome will be tested and when unmet expectations by various parties over the referendum’s result, as well as what it means and how it should be implemented, could have serious consequences.

Finally, the conclusion to this paper will summarise its key findings, consider various perceptions of Bougainville’s preparedness for potential independence,

But, Chairman Watawi appealed to the people not to be frightened or scared of voting for independence saying there are many good things on offer when we gain independence.

The exact date and timing for the conduct of referendum would be further discussed by the two governments in their future JSB meetings.

Did Bougainville travel ban fiasco cause early departure of Australia’s High Commissioner ?

photo6 There is speculation  Deborah Stokes ,Australia’s  High Commissioner withdrawal is connected to a diplomatic row that erupted with PNG earlier in the year over a planned Australian diplomatic mission in Bougainville. PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was shocked by the May budget announcement, complaining he had not been consulted. He retaliated by whacking a travel ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville, which has been lifted since.

SEE PREVIOUS BOUGAINVILLE NEWS STORY PNG Bans Australians travelling to Bougainville

Picture above Deborah Stokes (left ) on December visit to Bougainville with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (right)

Report from AAP

The Australian Federal government is refusing to say why Australia’s high commissioner to Papua New Guinea has made an early exit from her posting. Deborah Stokes was appointed high commissioner in March 2013 and finished up last week.

It’s believe she still had about eight months to go on her Port Moresby posting. “Today I farewell PNG taking with me many fond memories of this remarkable country. Lukim yu bihain,” she tweeted late last week.

The timing of her departure, so close to PNG’s 40th anniversary of independence celebrations in September, has raised eyebrows in Port Moresby.

There is speculation her withdrawal is connected to a diplomatic row that erupted with PNG earlier in the year over a planned Australian diplomatic mission in Bougainville. PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was shocked by the May budget announcement, complaining he had not been consulted. He retaliated by whacking a travel ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville, which has been lifted since. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade conceded there was “miscommunication” with the PNG government over the plan. A DFAT spokeswoman told AAP Ms Stokes would be taking up another overseas assignment, but declined to provide a reason for the departure. Ms Stokes previously served as Australia’s ambassador to Austria where she was permanent representative to the United Nations in Vienna. She has also had postings to Tokyo, Rangoon and the United Nations Development Program in New York.

Bougainville Referendum News : Tanis to head up new Department for Referendum, Peace and Veteran Affairs

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The Bougainville Executive Council also resolved to appoint former President James Tanis as Acting Secretary of the newly created Department for Referendum, Peace and Veteran Affairs. 

‘With his strong networks across Bougainville, his great appreciation of the issues at stake and his high standing Bougainville, Mr Tanis will be a real asset to the ABG’s programs’

President Chief John Momis, MHR

Picture above at the recent ABG Inauguration  : Former Bougainville President James Tanis with former PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare, GCL, GCMG, CH, CF, KStJ, PC, MP,

The ABG is currently hosting a week-long induction program for the newly elected Members of the House of Representatives.

The induction program has highlighted the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement-weapons disposal, referendum and autonomy- must be pursued as the highest priority of the ABG in this critical period leading up to the referendum.

To this end, the Bougainville Executive Council held an urgent meeting last night and resolved to merge the current office of Bougainville Referendum into a newly formed Department for Referendum, Peace and Veteran Affairs.

The BEC is strongly of the view that linking the referendum, peace and veterans affairs together will position the ABG to move quickly and effectively on these crucial matters.

The Bougainville Executive Council also resolved to appoint former President James Tanis as Acting Secretary of the newly created Department.

‘With his strong networks across Bougainville, his great appreciation of the issues at stake and his high standing Bougainville, Mr Tanis will be a real asset to the ABG’s programs’ said the President.

The appointment is for a 6 month period. This will give time for the formal recruitment and appointment process to be undertaken for this position and a final appointment can be made.

Recent Speeches by James Tanis on the need for an education revolution

My thoughts on education

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James Tanis (patron ) Presenting a donation of Bookgainville Kindles at the Guava School in May of this Year :

I am not an expert on education; therefore I cannot offer any words about the philosophical aspects of the discipline.

Even though I am a school dropout, I never gave up hope that one day I would return to school again

If I ever I found that chance, however long I had to wait and whatever it would take me to sacrifice, I would one day be back in the classroom, hold a pen and write on paper and complete my schooling.

That has been my resolve for 25 years. After 25 years of waiting and hoping I was recently a student,studying International Affairs in the Graduate Studies, School of International Relations, College of Asia Pacific Studies (GSIA), located at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia

I present my beliefs based on the encounters that I had during the difficult times of the Bougainville conflict.

I learnt that education was everything one would wish to have.

Wars Cannot Destroy

In a war, when you lose your friends, lose property, get stripped naked and robbed of everything, the only property you will be left will be what is safely hidden in your brain.

When you are under surprise attack in the mist of confusion, you can lose your children, and the only child you will be left will be what is hidden in your head.

After a war, either in defeat or victory, you will be disarmed; but the only weapon that will not be taken away from you is whatever you are armed with in the mind.

The only property, the friend and the weapon that will withstand all the destruction and the carnage of a war, is your education and knowledge.

If you are educated you will be preserved and sustained under all of life’s circumstances.

Education is everything a person must strive to have, to transit from war to peace, and then from peace to national restoration.

 The Cornerstone for Nation Building

I joined the Bougainville war to fight, so to protect our resources, our gold and silver so that we could become an independent nation.

It took me many long hard years to face the reality that you don’t build nations by destroying your people.

Nation building is more than just raising guerrilla armies, raising flags, writing constitutions and making declarations.

Nations are founded on people who are not only rich in natural resources but rich in education.

A nation that is founded on gold and silver will last as long as the ore lasts under the ground.

But a nation founded on human resources and a rigorous education program will survive.

A nation’s progress goes only as far as how far its citizens are educated.

Education sustains peace.

Education progresses the nation.

Education is everything a nation must possess.

Bougainville community support and vision puts Bougainville tourism on the world’s stage

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International tourism Buyers (travel agents and wholesalers) interested in sending visitors to Bougainville PNG have given the recent South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) 2015 and especially Bougainville as a future growing tourism destination the ‘thumbs-up’ after two-days of successful business-to-business meetings at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre .

Tour operators, hotel and accommodation providers as well as National Tourism Offices from 16 Pacific Island Countries converged into Melbourne with over 60 international buyers from the traditional source markets of Australia and New Zealand to the emerging long haul markets of the United States, China and Europe to conduct business and networking.

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Zhon Bosco Miriona, Managing Director of Bougainville Experience Tours for second time in the past year was able to represent Bougainville on the world stage supported by Colin Cowell an International media and tourism consultant with over 25 years’ experience marketing Indigenous tourism.

Top Photo Social media  : Online tour bookings site , Facebook ,@YesBougainville on Twitter and Bougainville Tourism INSTAGRAM are playing an important role in Bougainville Experience Tours  International Marketing

Second Photo Above : Developing partnerships with Wako Napusu Inbound operator Country Tour PNG and Asian operators above to bring in small groups for a 7 day Bougainville Tour Experience

Mr. Miriona said without the help of Bougainville small business and other sponsors and supporters  (see list below) I would not have been able to attend this important but expensive international marketing opportunity for Bougainville.

“Our fundraising in Arawa raised 5,270 kina and it really proved that a wide range of organisations and individuals understand the economic, cultural and social benefits  that international tourism can bring to Bougainville. Hopefully this new Government can also see that they need to develop a Bougainville Tourism Plan 2015-2025 to strategically invest in tourism infrastructure training and marketing “Mr. Miriona said

Mr Miriona stated SPTE 2015 was bigger than initially anticipated and the large number of buyers and sellers at this year’s event is indicative of the growing interest in the Pacific region’s only tourism exchange.

“The overwhelming response to SPTE 2015 from both the buyers and sellers has contributed to its success! Our PNG team worked especially hard to ensure that the quality of buyers from our international markets would add value to the exchange, especially for our regional member areas like Bougainville. The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and Colin Cowell have been a fantastic support developing Bougainville tourism over the past few years. I am pleased to say that with all this support Bougainville does have a bright future” Mr. Miriona added.

Mr Miriona went on to say that the major problem that Bougainville cultural tourism has is that the Bougainville Government cannot guarantee funding or dates for the many festivals or events that occur each year throughout the island such as Mona and the Reeds Festival .

“Like other major cultural festivals throughout Papua New Guinea we need to lock in dates and funding five years ahead so that International buyers and cruise ships can plan and sell tours”

Mr Miriona went on to highlight some of the other international marketing that he and Mr Cowell did whilst in Melbourne

“This year SPTE 2015 extended an invitation to the international media that were in Melbourne for the Australian Tourism Exchange and I was able to do a number of radio interviews promoting Bougainville tourism

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Radio Australia Interview with Bruce Hill

Bougainville open and ready for tourism

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 Bougainville igat bikpela potensal long turis bisnis

Turis bisnis opereta long Bougainville Zhon Bosco Miriora i tok Bougainville wantaim olgeta hap blong Papua New Guinea igat bikpela potensal oa samting long divelopim sait long turis.

 With  pictured above with Zhon and Wako
Mr Miriona papa blong  Bougainville Experience Tours i tok ol klinpla environment, pasin tumbuna na ol pisin long ol bikbus inap pulim planti turis igo long Auttonomous rijan blong Bougainville.
Mr Miriona ibin stap long South Pacific Tourism Exchange sho emi bin kamap hia long Melbourne long wik igo pinis.
Planti turisam laen blong olgeta hap blong Pacific ibin stap long despla bung em Australia Tourism na South Pacific Tourism Organisation ibin ronim.
Mr Miriona itok gutpla environment emi nap helpim ol pipal i kisim moni nau na long bihaen taem.
Bisnis blong Mr Miriona i save stretim rot blong ol turis i go long ol ship na balus long go wokabaut long Bougainville.

Check out the website

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A BIG THANK YOU TO THE SPONSORS

List of Lodges, corporates and individuals who attended and donated for the fundraising for BET rep to attend the 2nd South Pacific Tourism Exchanges in Melbourne Australia.

NO. Names Amount
1 Poonang Nava Inn K600.00
2 Arawa Transit Lodge K300.00
3 Rising Sun K300.00
4 Gasa Lodge K300.00
5 Urunaa Island Lodge K300.00
6 Riverside Lodge K300.00
7 National Airport Corporation K100.00
8 PNG Ports Limited K300.00
9 Gold Dust Ltd K300.00
10 Eastrac K300.00
11 3 Rocks K300.00
12 Hon Member Nick Darku K300.00
13 Bougainville Earth Works K300.00
14 Kompaini Plant Hire K300.00
15 Jayberth K150.00
16 Lucy Sagoro K30.00
17 Vincent Simon Bus Service K200.00
18 Raymond Marai K300.00
19 Nigana Bus Service K100.00
20 Danny James K50.00
21 Lawrence Mattau K30.00
22 Joe Mennou K30.00
23 Gerard Tagussy K30.00
24 Tuvoro Service Station K50.00
Total 5,270.00