NEWSPAPER WORKER ASSAULTED IN BOUGAINVILLE

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Government official angered by PNG Post-Courier stories

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 17, 2009) – THE Post-Courier distributor in Buka Sylvester Potsii was yesterday bashed in the company’s office at Hani’s Inn by a senior Autonomous Bougainville Government leader over audit reports published in the paper this week.

The reports detailed how the use of millions of kina belonging to the Buka Hospital was being investigated, including the "stale" contracts wasted on Bougainville.

Mr Potsii was on duty at the office yesterday.

Bougainville Technical Services chief executive officer John Kolan charged into the office at 2:25pm, demanding to see the bureau chief, screaming, shouting abuse, kicking the office door and walls. He pulled the office computer to take with him and disturbed the terminal communication connections.

Mr Potsii explained that bureau chief Gorethy Kenneth was out for an interview and that he was only the company’s distributor visiting the office to do some work.

Trainee student Zalle Ricky was typing stories while Mr Kolan attempted to pull the computer away. He ended up punching Mr Potsii on the face after being told the boss of the office was out and that he should come back to see her when he was sober.

Mr Kolan charged out of the office and brought back with him a team of three. They pulled Mr Potsii outside of the office and started fighting with him. Mr Potsii kept defending himself until they gave up and left.

The previous night, during the closing of the Joint Supervisory Body meeting at Kuri Village Resort attended and hosted by acting Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu and ABG President James Tanis, Mr Kolan shouted abusive language, calling the Post-Courier an "asshole" paper and also used other abusive language to the extent of charging for the Post-Courier journalists to pick a fight. He was angry over reports of millions of kina missing and the contracts allegedly wasted in the region.

On the day the report was published, Mr Kolan rang the Post-Courier to give his explanation of the story. His story was taken but in the night the journalists were called names and harassed and the paper labelled with many names.

Police have been given a report of assault, computer wire damage and abusive language used.

Mr Potsii is nursing a sore head while student Zalle Ricky is still traumatised over the incident in the Post-Courier office.

PNG Post-Courier

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