UBS loan was to clean up Somare mess: PM

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the UBS loan obtained by his government last year was done to clean up "the mess left behind" by the Somare Government and the Arabs.

O’Neill was responding to an extensive article about the USB loan published by Fairfax Media.

The article titled “How Oil Search deal found trouble in Papua New Guinea” was written by John Garnaut Asia Pacific editor for Fairfax Media and published by the Fairfax media. .

The article showed confidential documents and minutes of meetings leading up to the signing of the UBS loan.

“The cost of losses we suffered to the Arabs are far worse than the cost we pay on the loan from UBS. These issues are before the courts and they can competently determine some of  the issues that are being subject of speculation aimed at doing political damage to the Government,” he says.

“PNG paid $8.20 when the Somare government agreed to pay $8.50 to the Arabs, Oil Search is our country's biggest tax payer and one of the largest employers of our citizens  so why is it wrong for us to be a stable shareholder in that company,” O’Neill questioned.

He says that the recent offer by Woodside shows that there is upside value in the company for the long term and PNG will benefit.

O’Neill says the PNG investment in Oil Search has been a long term one  and not a speculative investment influenced by share prices.

Meantime O’Neill says the documents are internal company records of the National Petroleum Company PNG that was leaked and it is up to the directors of the board to decide if they will investigate how confidential files were leaked.

Joy Kisselpar