Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Florida Con Man Busted in New Guinea Ferrying “Funny Money” to Self-Styled Bougainville “King”


South Pacific “funny money” is in the news again.  A couple weeks ago in this blog, we reported on a French police raid on an armed monarchist encampent in Tahiti to arrest a self-styled Polynesian king and his followers for circulating the currency of their proclaimed “Pakumotu Republic.”  And now, at the other, western end of Oceania, a United States citizen was arrested in Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) for possession of the “illegal” currency of the Bougainville separatist movement


On February 15th, Barry Keith Webb arrived in Port Moresby, the P.N.G. capital, on an Air Niugini flight from Manila, in the Philippines.  He was en route to Buka, the current interim capital of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.  But he was arrested after customs officer found his briefcase contained a million and a half crisp, new Bougainville kina.  Webb produced a letter to corroborate his claim that he was an officer of the International Organisation of Economic Development (I.O.E.D.) formally invited to Tonu, a town on Bougainville Island.  The letter, signed by “King David Peii II,” was to award him the position of Minister of International Monetary Relations, a post with the so-called Central Bank of Bougainville.  But the problem is that Bougainville is not an independent state.

Barry Webb, King David Peii’s royal money-launderer
Bougainville is one of the largest islands in P.N.G., which won independence from Australia in 1975.  Geographically and culturally, it is part of the Solomon Islands, which was a separate administration in the days of British colonial rule.  At independence in 1975, Bougainvilleans tried to establish a separate Republic of North Solomons, which aimed eventually to unite with the not-yet-independent British Solomon Islands Protectorate to its east.  But the British Solomon Islanders were not interested, and after six months Bougainville agreed to be part of P.N.G. on condition of enhanced autonomy.  Separatism reemerged in the 1980s, however, and in 1990 the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG) declared independence, igniting a civil war that lasted until 1997, killing over 20,000 people.  The last holdouts from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (B.R.A.) did not surrender and formed a tiny encampment around the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville where the rebellion had begun.  This last separatist redoubt did not end until Francis Ona, a B.R.A. founder, who had crowned himself “King of Me’ekamui,” died in 2005.  Bougainvillean sovereigntists claim that Me’ekamui and Paapala are the two kingdoms that traditionally rule the island; others claim they are smaller traditional polities for the area around Tonu.

Bougainvilleans celebrate independence day
The apparent author of Webb’s job-offer letter, King David Peii II, is in fact, Noah Musingku, who was a self-styled monarch of Paapala alongside his ally Ona during the 1990-97 war.  In the late 1990s, Musingku launched an elaborate investment scheme called U-Vistract, established first as part of a Christian mission in Australia.  But Australian authorities arrested Musingku for running what they called a Ponzi scheme.  Musingku now runs an operation in Tonu which is half investment scam and half Pentecostal mission, staffed by mercenaries from Fiji.

King David Peii II
P.N.G.’s own official central bank is not amused; their currency is also called the kina.   The bank’s governor, Loi Bakani, said, “The money is illegal.  If you look at the 100 Bougainville kina note, it has the kina name on it but different features and pictures, therefore it is illegal.  Also the legal tender is in Papua New Guinea kina and the change of the design also has its own penalties.”

Their currency looks pretty slick and professional.
But the same cannot be said of all of Bougainville’s trappings of state.
Webb—whose Google+ page identifies him as a Duquesne University graduate living in Clearwater, Florida—has been in touch with the U.S. consulate in P.N.G.  Webb’s rap sheet in Florida includes criminal charges for running real-estate and personal-loan schemes.  It is not clear whether there is much Washington can do for him.


Is this what you want to see on the résumé
for a candidate for Minister of International Monetary Relations?
Separatist sentiment is high in Bougainville, but it is not clear how much faith the general population there has in King David Peii II.  A binding referendum on independence has been promised by the P.N.G. government for some time before 2021.  It will probably pass.  But the fledgling nation will do well to clean up its act a bit when it comes to financial dealings if they want to have a viable state.

Not ready for prime time: King David inspecting his troops


[You can read more about Bougainville and many other separatist and new-nation movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar.  The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this interview for more information on the book.]

12 comments:

  1. Barry Webb never graduated from any college. He lies about everything. He is a crook, a con man and a thief. He has gotten away with hurting so many people and has never paid or barely paid for his crimes. He uses religion to gain the trust and respect of his potential victims. He is a scam artist and a convicted felon. I hope that he does pay, this time, and serves a significant sentence. His crimes have only gotten bigger and better, as he progresses in his criminal career. HE MUST BE STOPPED! Committing crimes, in the name of the Lord is just EVIL and DIABOLICAL.

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  2. Barry Webb is a liar, who is in love with himself. He gives himself titles such as Govenor, General, CEO, etc. Well, Mr. Captain Crunch can give himself titles, that never earned, including claiming he has a college degree, but the truth is now known. His Paster/Preacher degree is a $35.00 Mail Order degree that anyone can get. He is not religious or Christian, he just uses religion to sucker in more victims. No real bank would hire him with his felony criminal background. All of my claims can be backed up with Google and a background search.

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  3. Barry Webb is a low life criminal! He is a lair, cheater and absolute scum. His low life wife is no better. His greed for money is greater than anything else he has. He is self-ish. I'm speaking from personal experience when I say that he puts on a show... says he goes to chruch every week and that when he leaves the country he is going to poor places of the world to teach the word of GOD and help build hospitals. LIES. He'd do anything he had to just to steal. I hope he finally get punished for all that he has done. It's not clear if there is much Washinton can do?! I hope they don't do anything to help him!

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  4. Is there an update to this article? Has there been any update or link to where I can find out if he is still being held in a jail or which one? I'd like to know his punishment!

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  5. I would like to know as well, please get a picture of him behind bars!!!!!

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  6. Did you know Barry Keith Webbs Case was thrown out of court? Get your facts right and report it as a journalist with follow up researches. This report is soo biased.

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  7. thrown out of court? In his dreams.

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  8. Oh yes, this guy, Barry Webb, is a pure CON MAN in every sense of the word! I just happened on this story and must say karma is catching up! If by some chance he's not still in a New Guinea jail, he is likely working on his next scam! Not only is a con man, but he is an ignorant idiot.

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  9. As a Papua New Guinean, I never heard of such person being punished here...I hope he is punished for what he has done, either in US or PNG.

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  10. There is another hearing the end of August. He had his passport taken away and has been under some sort of house arrest. He has been free to move around but cannot leave New Guinea at this point. Some of the charges have been dropped but some are still pending. I think he saw this opportunity as a "get rich quick" scheme that really backfired on him. I wish he would learn his lesson but at this point in time I don't think that is going to happen. Maybe if he had been put in jail.

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  11. This is a very biased and shallow view of bouganvilla. I think it is very courageous of them to stop the pillage of their island by colonialists and even PNG.

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