PNG PM asks Australia to stop Paladin contract

7:30 pm on 25 June 2019

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape has called for Australian company Paladin's contract on Manus Island to be stopped.

Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape, June 2019.

Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape, June 2019. Photo: PNG PM Media

As parliament resumed today, MPs zeroed in on Paladin's $US300-million contract with the Australian government to provide security at refugees camps on Manus.

Mr Marape told the chamber that foreigners should not be taking up contracts in PNG for work that local companies can do.

Paladin's contract is due to expire at the end of the month, and Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has said it would likely be renewed.

The PNG prime minister was responding to questions over the Paladin contract from the Governor of Oro Province, Gary Juffa.

"Are we just going to sit and let foreign governments come and dictate what they and their companies will do in this country?" Mr Juffa said.

Papua New Guinea MP for Oro Regional, Gary Juffa

Papua New Guinea MP for Oro Regional, Gary Juffa Photo: Loop PNG

Mr Marape, who was elected minister last month, said he was asking Canberra to stop the contract immediately.

"I will summon the Australian Head of Mission to provide an explanation." Mr Marape said.

"We don't intend to have foreign security companies engage in businesses like security which we can do. I will also request to have this contract terminated forthwith."

Mr Dutton has also been under pressure domestically over his department's awarding of the contract without an open tender process. Australia's Auditor-General is reviewing the contract.

Earlier this month PNG's immigration minister, Petrus Thomas, confirmed that the Marape government wanted the contract canceled or terminated by the end of June.

According to him, the chief migration officer had written to Australia's Home Affairs department seeking a transparent tender process and stronger PNG national content in the Manus contracts.

Australia's former home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, faces the media at a press conference in Canberra on August 21, 2018.


Paladin says it employs a majority local workforce, buys local products and undertakes community projects.

It also works with a local sub-contractor, Manus company Peren, which is part owned by members of the family of PNG's parliament speaker, Job Pomat.

Last week, the Australian Financial Review revealed shares were issued to Peren Investments in a company called Pomwan Paladin Security.

It is now a joint venture, owned half by Paladin and the other half by Peren and its director Rodney Pokapin, with stakes of 40 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.

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