Names that raise more questions

Editorial, Normal

THE Papua New Guinea Parliament stands shamed.
Three of its members have been named as collaborators in plotting the controversial escape of high profile prisoner William Nanua Kapris.
And when the matter was raised yesterday during question time, the public gallery burst in applause, the Justice Minister was aghast and speechless and Parliament fell into silence.
Before Parliament rose, one senior minister in Arthur Somare gave notice that he will call The National before the privileges committee to name the MPs.
If so compelled, we will do so. Two of those named are ministers and one is an ordinary Member of Parliament, this much we can say for now.
It seems that these shameless individuals, not satisfied with the millions placed in their hands by Parliament, aided and abetted in at least three large robberies and the attempt of another. By their act they have also put their shroud of shame over Parliament.
This is a convicted man and a three-time escape artist who, we can say, is clutching at straws and most normally we would not give it much credence.
This newspaper only gave this story the prominence it did because the evidence he has offered the police are compelling right down to details of names and places, associations and amounts of money which have exchanged hands.
Some things revealed to police by this suspect comes out as truthful.
The question we ask is why these particular three politicians and not any other of the 109 Members of Parliament?
Why two ministers and an ordinary MP?
Why only three – why not four or 10 or even just one?
Another reason which gives the Kapris confession some credence is the fact that he was severely injured and could hardly walk at the time of his escape.
For a person who appears to us to be a rather clever individual in the manner he executed the robberies for which he is charged, we would have expected him to be many hundreds of kilometres away had he planned his own escape, not holed up in a quite obvious little guest house in Port Moresby waiting for policemen to pounce.
It was as if he had been given the guarantee from persons in high places that he was safe and nothing would happen to him.
And most compelling of all, why would Kapris choose to convict himself of the three robberies – Metals Refining Operation, the BSP Kerema branch and BSP Madang branch?
Until now, he has only been a suspect awaiting trial for these robberies. His actual jail sentence is for the crime of attempted murder of a policeman in Kimbe, which he committed as part of a gang when he was in high school and for which he was serving time, when he escaped from custody. While on the run he was alleged to have committed a series of other robberies, three of which have been pinned on him.
Only now, by his own confession he stands convicted of the MRO and the two bank robberies. He has admitted being there and having taken the money.
The only defence available now is that of coercion or intimidation and threats by police into making his confession.
The three politicians named know this fact themselves. They need only clear their names publicly whether or not Kapris is telling a big fat lie or walk down shame avenue into history and notoriety.
Until these men clear their names or are named and removed, Parliament will never be able to lift this shroud of shame off itself.
It is disgraceful conduct which will go around the world – politicians so motivated by greed for money that they would lower themselves to the level of common thieves to aid and abet in robberies.
There must be more to tell.
Just who or what is this “black bank” which allegedly “got rid” of the 13 bars of gold stolen in the MRO robbery? Or did it?
And the mother of questions: Why was Kapris sprung from jail? Was it so he should not tell his story at trial?
Or was it so that unconcluded business which needed Kapris’ personal authority and direction could be expedited?
Questions that warrant answers and which, now that he has spoken out, we are sure will make themselves known in due course.