SABL Commission of Inquiry cannot be allowed to fail

The people of Papua New Guinea are waiting anxiously to hear more details about the Commission of Inquiry into Special Purpose Agriculture and Business leases which Acting Prime Minister, Sam Abal, heroically announced he was setting up last week.

Mr Abal has been widely praised for his announcement which brought a sense of relief to a Nation that was beginning to believe there was no hope for the future.

People all over PNG and overseas have been rejoicing that, finally, action is going to be taken on one of the biggest scandals afflicting our corruption riddled country - and hoping that Mr Abal announcement might herald a new era of open, accountable and transparent government.

But there are signs that the Commission of Inquiry may be threatened before it has even been established. The forces of darkness in Papua New Guinea, who stand to make billions of dollars out of logging the lease areas and trading the land rights on international markets, are making a concerted effort to make sure the Inquiry never happens.

Wari Iamo, champion of the logging industry despite his role as Secretary of the Department of Conservation, has offered to run his own review instead of a Commission of Inquiry. The National, owned by Rimbunan Hijau, has been steadfastly refusing to congratulate the Acting PM on his brave and noble initiative. And now the forces that control the National Alliance are lobbying to remove Abal from his role.

The best thing that Mr Abal can do, to strengthen his own position as Acting PM, to ensure the lasting support of a grateful nation, and to strike a blow against the rampant corruption that s crippling our nation, is to sign the instruments establishing the Commission of Inquiry and announce the panel of judges and eminent persons which will be conducting the hearings.

PNG's Parliamentary Opposition has already heard the wrath of the nation and has hastily reversed its opposition to the Commission of Inquiry, now the Acting PM needs to reinforce his position by turning a promise into reality.