Thursday, July 1, 2010

BSP Gives Us Yet Another Reason to Steer Clear

Police Arrest Top Bankers

GARTH McIlwain, one of the most respected figures in PNG’s finance and banking industry, was arrested by police yesterday.

In a new twist to the case filed by businessman and former politician Peter Yama, McIlwain and senior Bank South Pacific official Robin Flemming were taken to the Konedobu police fraud squad office for questioning yesterday afternoon.

They were then transferred to the Boroko police station, where they were charged and locked up in the cells for about an hour before they were released on K5,000 bail.

Senior police officers were unaware of what was unfolding, and refused to comment when contacted.

Police media unit officers were seeking more information on the arrest before they could brief Police Commissioner Gari Baki on the arrest.

The National could not obtain details of the charges laid against the two men, but it is understood their arrest is related to a complaint of falsifying document relating to a fixed floating charge BSP had against Yama and his companies in 1999.

The prime minister’s legal counsel, Sumasi Singin, rushed to the police station to find out what was going on when he heard of their arrest.

News of the arrests, and the manner in which the two were treated, is likely to outrage the business community.

Police had previously arrested Flemming, BSP lawyer John Maddison and private lawyer Erik Anderson for conspiracy to defraud relating to this case. The case against them was dismissed in court. Mcllwain and Flemming will appear in court any time this week.

McIlwain recently retired as chief executive officer of BSP.

He is the chairman of Credit Corporation and was at the helm of the successful merger of PNG Banking Corporation with BSP, now the leading bank in PNG and the Pacific region.