Judge finalises UBS referral

The Supreme Court has received facts surrounding constitutional questions in the K3 billion UBS loan reference that was referred to the high court early last year.

The reference is now before the fast track list of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia says he wants to see the case come to finality.

He told the court during directions hearing today that the referral judge has finalised the referral by signing off and providing facts surrounding the reference under section 18(2) of the Constitution. 

Certain constitutional questions surrounding the alleged improper borrowing of the K3 billion UBS loan by the government was referred to the Supreme Court for determination by the National Court on Jan 28, 2015.

Lawyers representing parties in the reference; Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the Ombudsman Commission, former Chief Ombudsman Rigo Lua, Acting Chief Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari and Attorney General Ano Pala, were told to confer and obtain facts from the Supreme Court registry.

The matter will return to court on August 8.

On Jan 28, 2015, the National Court allowed O’Neill to obtain a reference under section 18(2) of the constitution for interpretation at the Supreme Court while the National Court proceeding was stayed, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court reference, a matter still before the High court.

This is all in relation to the alleged improper borrowing of K3 billion loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland AG by the government. This was to purchase 149,390,244 shares in Oil Search Ltd and improper tender and procurement of consultants in relation to the borrowing.

The National Court last year also allowed Prime Minister O’Neill certain orders restraining the Ombudsman Commission from publishing a preliminary report of the alleged improper borrowing.

Sally Pokiton