Tragic and untimely deaths haunt govt witnesses in Ramu mine case

The two principal government witnesses in the legal case that will determine the future of the Ramu nickel mine have tragically died.

Wesley Irima, Manager of Environment and Compliance in the Mineral Resource Authority died on 30 March 2010. This was just a week after he swore an affidavit that revealed the environmental permit for the Chinese State owned Ramu mine only allows the tailings disposal system to be operated if it causes no environmental harm.

Kelly Gawi, Deputy Director in the Department of Conservation, and the Departments only witness in the Ramu case, died on April 18, 2010. He was the public servant in charge of all the Ramu mine’s dealings with DEC. He had, shortly before his death, signed an affidavit that revealed DEC never required an Environmental Impact Assessment to be done on the Ramu mine’s tailings disposal plan, even after it had been advised by its own experts that one was necessary.

Nobody has suggested there was any foul play in the deaths of either man. But it is a fact that the two most senior public servants directly involved in the technical issues surrounding the granting of permission for the Ramu mine to dump 100 million tons of mine waste in the sea are both dead. It is a fact that both men died after landowners issued court proceedings challenging the government permitting process. It is also a fact that both men died within weeks of signing affidavits that revealed interesting new information about that permitting process.

Conspiracy theorists will, no doubt, also remember the tragic death of the head of the Lutheran Church, Dr Wesley Kisagung, in 2008. Dr Kisagung died while spearheading the church’s campaign against the marine tailings disposal plan. Shortly before his death he had called on the Prime Minister, Michael Somare, to publicly respond to an independent scientific report that threw doubt over assertions the tailings dumping plan was safe.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Tragic and untimely deaths haunt govt witnesses in Ramu mine case

  1. Nichson

    Their deaths should be investigated to clear any air of conspiracy theories. But it all smells too fishy for comfort.

  2. petrus

    Very interesting ,but not surprising though.!!!
    With due respect to the grieving relatives of both men and the late Bishop Kisagung, can the PNG police and pathologists do an exhumation ….a full toxicological testing needs to be done on body tissue and fluids of all three dead men in Australia.
    If the Chinese Mafia had a hand in this ‘deads’ then only toxicology studies will shown us which chemicals were spiced with food and drink and given to these three men…or if the chinese are ‘clean’ this tests will proof that. Otherwise, we can go on theorising this and that till the cows come home… on the other hand who’s is next on this hit list?? Tiffany Nongorr needs to be very careful from now onwards…alos the four plaintiffs…all png must realise that if the chinese can not get our resources legally they will kill and get it…

  3. Bruce

    Petrus, you have no “due respect” for Wesleys widow and daughters.
    Wesley was my friend, you are both offensive and morally debased.
    But worse, the comments above are just plain idiotic.
    Since the age of 12 Wesley had only one kidney; he tragically passed away after suffering complications arising from renal failure.
    Tragically, PNG is much the poorer in his passing and he will always be remembered for his dry wit, wisdom, and respect for humanity.
    It is an utter and despicable disgrace that his memory is now tainted with the mindless, morally bankrupt and opportunistic innuendo generated by the author of the above story.
    As for Tiffany Nongorr, well, is she not indeed to said “Petrus”?
    After all, did Tiffany not start speading this story some three weeks ago?
    The only thing Tiffany needs to be careful about are the representations she make to the court and the consequence of attempting to promote the interests of foriegn NGO’s over the national interests of PNG and its citizens.

  4. Bruce

    Petrus, you have no “due respect” for Wesleys widow and daughters.
    Wesley was my friend, you are both offensive and morally debased.
    But worse, the comments above are just plain idiotic.
    Since the age of 12 Wesley had only one kidney; he tragically passed away after suffering complications arising from renal failure.
    Tragically, PNG is much the poorer in his passing and he will always be remembered for his dry wit, wisdom, and respect for humanity.
    It is an utter and despicable disgrace that his memory is now tainted with the mindless, morally bankrupt and opportunistic innuendo generated by the author of the above story.
    As for Tiffany Nongorr, well, is she not indeed the said “Petrus”?
    After all, did Tiffany not start speading this story some three weeks ago?
    The only thing Tiffany needs to be careful about are the representations she make to the court and the consequence of attempting to promote the interests of foriegn NGO’s over the national interests of PNG and its citizens.

  5. Thomas Pauling

    This blog is a disgrace.

  6. Thomas Pauling

    The only allegation of foul play comes from Ramu Nickel Mine Watch.
    This blog is an appalling indictment of the mindlessness and total lack of morality and sensitivity the above have for the families of the above named deceased.
    Disgrace and shame on you.

  7. j kross

    If posting the death of two senior government officers is your way of scoring against the government over the Ramu Mine case, this is pathetic, disgraceful and most of all unPapua New Guinean. It will take an unnatural, alien pretender PNG citizen, if ever, to put this up. I hope you are happy. The PNG government is two dedicated experts poorer through the loss of Wesley and Kelly. You just can’t find any such men on the streets who refused to join the private sector but dedicated their lives to serving the state and its people, yet people find the time and the inclination to even name them. Wesley and Kelly have more honour that the moron that posted this.

  8. Thomas Pauling

    j Kross
    I too support your condemnation of the idiotic comments about two great and dedicated leaders in science in PNG.
    Both of our passed brothers were giants in PNG in their field and internationally recognized by Industry.
    It is disgraceful that the Ramu Plaintiff lawyers and their malcontents think they can use the names of these two men to advance their own political ends.
    It is a disgrace………

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