Former PNG PM Somare named as recipient in Singapore money laundering case

A Singapore court has named Papua New Guinea’s former Prime Minister and founding father Sir Michael Somare as the recipient of more than $1 million from a couple who laundered money meant for community colleges in PNG.

Lim Ai Wah and her American husband Thomas Doerhman were sentenced to jail in Singapore yesterday after being convicted of falsification of accounts and transferring the benefits of criminal conduct.

The State Court heard the pair transferred $US784,000 ($1.04 milliosomaren) into Sir Michael Somare’s Singapore bank account in 2010, as part of an attempt to set up a number of community colleges in Papua New Guinea.

Sam Koim, the chairman of Papua New Guinea’s anti-corruption squad Taskforce Sweep, said his team had been working with Singaporean authorities on the case.

“It’s a case that we’ve been looking forward to, because it’s part of a major investigation that my team has conducted,” he said.

“We’ve been working with Singaporean authorities on this case and we were looking forward to a decision, and we’re satisfied that such a decision has been made.

“It’s a landmark decision in terms of having people prosecuted outside of our jurisdiction, concerning … funds that are meant for PNG but are laundered in an offshore jurisdiction.”
Mr Koim said the Singapore case could have an impact on his squad’s investigations in Papua New Guinea.

“Some of the evidence that we needed were actually used in that proceeding … Under the Singapore legislations, there is a provision that if we provide information for a prosecution that is conducted overseas … they can reciprocate that when we need that information,” he said.

He could not comment on whether or not Sir Michael had been interviewed by the taskforce.



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