It has been far too long since I have cast Microkhan’s spotlight on Papua New Guinea, one of this project’s most beloved topics of conversation. The troubled country has an election due this summer, one that could well be delayed by a government desperate to cling to power. In the meantime, that government is wrestling with a scandal involving Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah, who was allegedly a very naughty bloke at an Australian casino:
The Deputy Prime Minister of PNG Belden Namah has been accused of sexually harassing a male blackjack dealer at the casino and behaving in a drunk and threatening manner.
According to the reports Mr Namah was allegedly gambling in the high roller room at around 7am on April 16 last year when he was asked to stop drinking due to “intoxication.”
A blackjack dealer then alleges Mr Namah started “teasing me by asking my mobile number” and then allegedly said to the man “Can I f… you tonight?”
This was followed up with “Can I love you, u (sic) are so pretty to me” and repeated requests for sex and to meet the man outside according to the dealer’s statement.
The staff statements from five separate employees say that despite the alleged sexual harassment the casino allowed Mr Namah back into the venue several hours later when it allegedly learnt he had paid $800,000 into a gambling account for use at the casino.
Namah’s response to the casino’s accusations has been, to be charitable, completely tone deaf. His lawyer has adopted the R. Kelly tactic of claiming that the man in the incident report simply isn’t Namah. Meanwhile, Namah himself has threatened to sue the Australian media group that published the casino’s allegations—though his reason for being upset is rather telling about the state of Papuan politics:
Mr Namah demanded the Fairfax group – publishers of the story – retract the “misleading and unfounded claims.”
“I want to make it clear, I am not gay,” the Port Moresby based National newspaper quoted him as saying.
Ah, so that is what Namah is worried about—the insinuation that he might be gay. Not a peep about being offended by claims that he was gambling away AUS$800,000, an outrageous sum for a longtime government official from a desperately poor country. The fact that Namah doesn’t understand that this is the real scandal, rather than the questions over his sexuality, does not bode well for Papua New Guinea.