Swamp Ghost Recovery - The Aftermath

Discussion about the history of B-17E 'Swamp Ghost' and its recovery.

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Daniel Leahy
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Swamp Ghost Recovery - The Aftermath

Post by Daniel Leahy » Tue Jul 04, 2006 7:48 pm

Hi All,

The B-17E 41-2446 (Swamp Ghost) recovery has again made PNG newspapers... This thread will be for PNG newspaper posts only - Hence being locked.

This from today's NATIONAL:
http://www.thenational.com.pg/070506/nation1.htm
PAC nails museum
By ISAAC NICHOLAS

THE National Museum and Art Gallery did not keep records of more than 30 war relics sold. Yesterday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ordered that the museum furnished it with these records and other documents within 48 hours.

The inquiry also learnt that the sales were in direct breach of the Public Finance Management Act and financial instructions.

At the centre of yesterday?s inquiry was the Swamp Ghost, which received widespread publicity two months ago when it was salvaged from Oro and taken to Lae in Morobe province for shipment to the United States.

Acting museum director Simon Poraituk was yesterday lost and confused when told of the relevant laws preventing the sale of war relics in the absence of any ministerial or cabinet approval.

Mr Poraituk said he only knew of the National Museum Board of Trustees, representing the State, and a memorandum of agreement to enter into a sale agreement with a client.

He had nothing to say about breaching the Public Finance Management Act, or that no proper tender procedures were followed in entering into any sale arrangements.

Acting PAC chairman Chris Haiveta said under the War Surplus Materials Act, all war surpluses are State property and lawful procedures must be followed when dealing with them. The National Museum and Art Gallery had failed that responsibility, he said.

In the 48-hour deadline, the PAC ordered the museum to produce:
*Statement of reasons for the sale of war relics;
*Statement to identify the basis for the issuance of an export permit;
*Schedule for the export permit;
*A full record of the sale of more than 30 war relics and financial records of the sales; and
*Meet with the Auditor-General to provide all financial records.

On the Swamp Ghost deal, Mr Poraituk said US$100,000 (K298,075) had been deposited by US buyers Aero Archeology into a holding account at the Westpac Bank in Port Moresby.

He said under a memorandum of agreement, 50% of that amount will go to the museum, 25% to the landowners and 25% to the Oro provincial government.

The agent acting for Aero Archeology Robert Grienert, a collector of war relics with a museum in Sydney, Australia, was also summoned before the inquiry yesterday.

Grienert said he was first hired by the museum to value the Swamp Ghost.
He found that the plane had suffered heavy corrosion and ?you can peel skins of the aircraft?, leaving it with a value of about K12,000.

He said the company spent K20,000 on motor hire and local labour during the salvage operation.
More from today's NATIONAL:
http://www.thenational.com.pg/070506/nation3.htm
Inadequate documents anger acting PAC boss
By ISAAC NICHOLAS

THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has raised concerns about foreigners having access to buy and remove State property without proper checks and procedures.

Yesterday?s inquiry into the Swamp Ghost found that the sale of more than 30 war relics had left PNG without following proper procedures and laws.

PAC acting chairman Chris Haiveta was apparently angry that the documents and evidence provided to the committee did not adequately address the issues at hand.

He was also unhappy that the museum had not cooperated with the Auditor-General to account for its activities from 2003 up until last year.
?How can the museum sell State-owned property of great value and, moreover, with no regard to the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act and the financial instructions??

He said eight years ago, the Solicitor-General had correctly pointed out that the State is the owner of war surplus material, and is the sole beneficiary of any sale. Therefore its disposal, by sale or otherwise, must be in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act, Mr Haiveta said. ?It means that the Swamp Ghost should have gone on tender ? if a decision was ever lawfully made to sell it in the first place.?

He said the only exception would be when the Central Supply and Tenders Board think it impractical or inexpedient, or if the minister in his discretion considers otherwise.

?Furthermore, this committee cannot yet identify any power in the National Museum and Art Gallery to permit the export of the wreck of the Swamp Ghost.

?Moreover, we are concerned that foreign exporters have apparently had access to, bought and removed State property with no proper checks,? Mr Haiveta said.

He was also concerned that the museum had received money and payment in kind from foreigners with no regard for the laws of this country.
Again from today's NATIONAL:
http://www.thenational.com.pg/070506/nation15.htm
Buyer of Swamp Ghost has no hangar

AMERICAN war relic buyer Aero Archeology Limited neither owns a hangar nor a museum.

Aero Archeology had bought a World War II American bomber B-17E Flying Fortress, dubbed the Swamp Ghost, and moved it from Oro province to Lae for shipment to the United States.

Citing correspondence received from Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation (MARC) in Marshfield, California, on July 2, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Tony Aimo yesterday said the company had denied receiving any correspondence from the buyer of the Swamp Ghost to have the plane housed at its establishment.

Mr Aimo said the museum, instead, is currently raising funds to build a new hangar for its own bombers.

Mr Aimo said MARC had denied knowledge of the Swamp Ghost.

?Yet, the NEC and museum trustees have been told that the Swamp Ghost would be restored at that location,? Mr Aimo said.

National Museum and Art Gallery acting director Simon Poraituk told the inquiry that in his letter to the NEC, he had hinted to dispose the plane to avoid Government and stakeholders? intervention.

He said there was no legislation used to reach the agreement, effecting the sale of the Swamp Ghost.

Mr Poraituk said his submission to the National Executive Council, through the former Culture and Tourism Minister, was without the approval of the Central Agency Consultative Committee. He was advised to have it dealt with administratively, he said Acting chairman of the museum board of trustees Arthur Jawodimbari said the board only endorsed the decision of the former board to extract and sell the Swamp Ghost.
Daniel Leahy
Canberra, Australia

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Daniel Leahy
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Post by Daniel Leahy » Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:13 am

This from today's POST COURIER:
http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20060705/news11.htm
Swamp Ghost advice ignored

THE National Museum and Art Gallery blatantly disobeyed advice by the Solicitor-General to sell any war relic without tender. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found no relevant laws giving permission for the export of the ?Swamp Ghost?. And also the Swamp Ghost was sold without public tender as advised by the Solicitor-General. The PAC, headed by acting chairman and Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta, heard the Solicitor-General in 1997 advised the sale or disposal of any ?War Surplus Material? must be effected in accordance with Part VII of the Public Finances (Management) Act. Mr Haiveta said, ?This means that the Swamp Ghost should have been put to public tender ? if a decision was ever lawfully made to sell it in the first place. However, he told the inquiry the only exception to this requirement was the Central Suppliers & Tenders Board certified it was impractical or inexpedient, or if the Minister in his discretion considered there was an emergency or it was not expedient or proper to call for tenders. A very disappointed Mr Haiveta said in his closing remarks the evidence did not answer or adequately address the major matter of concern to the PAC. ?That is, the issue of how the Museum can sell State owned property of great value at all and, moreover, with no regard to the requirements of the PFMA or the Financial instruction,? Mr Haiveta said. He said the committee was concerned the heritage of the country was being sold, given to or taken by foreigners with no regard to the law by them or by the Museum and its staff.
And although not mentioning the Swamp Ghost, this is in relation to the PNG Museum and the current PAC investigation. Also from today's POST COURIER:
http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20060705/news10.htm
Museum not co-operative

The Auditor-General?s Office told the Public Accounts Committee it could not carry out any meaningful audit into the National Museum because of lack of co-operation by the Museum management. The AGO said the National Museum?s audit reports for 1998, 1999 and 2000 were completely qualified. National Museum draft statements from 2001 to 2003 were submitted in 2005 but audit could not be carried out due to the lack of co-operation by the Museum management. Acting PAC chairman and Governor for Gulf Chris Haiveta said this was a breach of the Finance Management Act. Mr Haiveta said the committee was concerned it had heard little or no evidence from the National Museum during the inquiry. He reminded the acting director of the National Museum Simon Poraituk and members of the board of trustees that everything of culture importance, including artefacts, things from colonial times, things that have been traded, belonged to Papua New Guineans. Mr Haiveta raised concerns the Museum was also receiving donations in kind that were not recorded.
Daniel Leahy
Canberra, Australia

RAAF CASUALTY DATABASE
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Daniel Leahy
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Posts: 284
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Post by Daniel Leahy » Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:01 pm

Details from today's NATIONAL:
http://www.thenational.com.pg/071006/nation4.htm
PAC orders freeze on war relics
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THERE would be no more salvage, removal, export or sale of any war relics or surplus material from Papua New Guinea until the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee completes its inquiry.
The PAC also directed that the former US bomber, Swamp Ghost not be removed from Papua New Guinea until the committee had completed its inquiry and made a report to Parliament.
PAC also directed that the Swamp Ghost should, at the cost to Aero Archeology LLC, be removed to a place of shelter and safety, possibly Nadzab airport or some other secure location, pending the completion of this inquiry.
These were among a total of 22 directives issued by the PAC to the National Museum and Art Gallery last Friday.
?The public accounts committee directs that no shipping agent, company or provider remove the Swamp Ghost from Papua New Guinea pending further inquiry and determination by the Government of Papua New Guinea,? acting chairman Chris Haiveta said in the statement outlining the directions issued last Friday.
?All parties will have 30 days from the date of this inquiry to respond or submit what they may wish.?
Mr Haiveta said the committee encouraged all parties and any other interested or knowledgeable person to make submissions or provide materials to the committee that may assist in the inquiry.
Other directives issued include:
*The acting director of the national museum will within 14 days, produce to the committee a complete copy of the proposal from the Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation sent to the National Museum and Art Gallery in January 1998 seeking a permit to recover the Swamp Ghost and all and every document that was before the board of trustees at any time relating to the decision to sell the Swamp Ghost;
*The acting director of the museum provide a copy of the directions, request to or retainer of Robert Greinert, or historical aircraft restoration society to supply a valuation of the Swamp Ghost to the National Museum and all records of payment made for that valuation;
*The acting director of museum produce full details of his travel to Aero Archaeology, MARC and March Field Flying Museum including details of payment for airfares, accommodation, per diems and travel allowances received and any other museum officer, who accompanied the director, dates of travel, purpose of travel, approvals sought and obtained under the Finance Instructions and all acquittal of monies received for that travel; and,
*Within 30 days, the acting director will produce an inventory of all items under the control, possession or power of the National Museum and Art Gallery for every year since independence, the current whereabouts of each item, full details of any sale, loan, exchange or other deals or arrangements in respect of any of those items in the last 30 years. This includes cultural artefacts, war surplus, art, sculpture, natural history collections, specimens and every other items or things held by or managed by the museum, wherever they maybe.
Daniel Leahy
Canberra, Australia

RAAF CASUALTY DATABASE
http://www.raafdb.com

Daniel Leahy
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Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2002 10:21 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Post by Daniel Leahy » Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:41 pm

And the same from today's POST COURIER:
http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20060710/news09.htm
PAC puts ban on museum war relics

The Public Accounts Committee has directed the National Museum not to recover, salvage, sell or export any war surplus material. This is one of 22 directives the committee gave the museum on Friday. The committee also directed for specific documentation and full details regarding the exporting and selling of the B17E American bomber, the Swamp Ghost, to be provided. The committee also directed that the Swamp Ghost will not be removed from the country until the committee has completed its inquiry and made a report to Parliament. In the meantime, the committee has directed for the Swamp Ghost to be placed in a securely located shelter at the cost of Aero Archaeology LLC. The museum has also been directed to produce an inventory of all items under the control, possession or power of the National Museum and Arts Gallery every year since Independence. National Museum acting director Simon Poraituk has been directed to produce all documentation that shows compliance with the guidelines and the approval of the board of trustees, a minister or the NEC in regards to the sale, recovery or export of each aircraft or parts that have left the country since January 1, 1996. The committee has given 14 days for the National Museum to produce all records and files relating to the cashing or payment of 69 cheques, and details of the reason of each payment. The National Museum is also directed to give full co-operation and assistance to the Auditor General.
Daniel Leahy
Canberra, Australia

RAAF CASUALTY DATABASE
http://www.raafdb.com

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