Sir Mekere calls for probe into OSL shares

Moresby North-West, MP Sir Mekere Morauta was astounded to hear news of the Government’s fire sale of its shares in Oil Search at a loss of more than a billion kina.

“We always knew that this illegal deal between the Prime Minister, Oil Search and Union Bank of Switzerland was a bad deal, a bad investment and a bad use of public money,” he said.

“But we never knew it would be this bad.

“The total cost to the people of Papua New Guinea is likely to be more than K1 billion. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill must come clean on the exact costs.”

He said O’Neill must also come clean on whether the sale was caused by his Government’s inability to repay the loan.

Sir Mekere in a statement said for Sir Moi Avei, chairman of Kumul Petroleum, to say that the decision to sell the shares was a commercial decision taken by the board is not believable.

“Selling at a loss – announced by Kumul Petroleum as $US254 million, is not a sound commercial decision.

“The shares were legally owned by the bankers as security for the loan; they were not Kumul Petroleum’s to sell.

“Obviously Kumul Petroleum and/or the O’Neill Government could not meet the repayments, and was forced by the bankers to sell, in order to minimise their loss.”

He said a full, independent inquiry is needed to probe the deal.

Freddy Mou