Duma: I was decommissioned because of my views

William Duma, Minister for State Owned Enterprises said he was “decommissioned” as Minister for Petroleum and Energy in the O’Neill-led government on February 24th 2014, for expressing his views.

Minister Duma said this at this morning’s Commission of Inquiry session.

Under section 99 and 100 of the Oil and Gas Act, the Minister for Petroleum and Energy authorizes transfers and deals.

“In a significant transaction like this, I could say that the Minister for Petroleum and Energy would have been required to give his considerations and views.  

“The Prime Minister (Peter O’Neill) raised this issue in general terms. He said he was looking at a transaction. He did not tell me whether someone was going to purchase, a company, which had an interest in an oil and gas field or the license itself.

“The Prime Minister was not specific. He did not tell me that the government was going to borrow to then acquire an interest in Oil Search or that Oil Search would then after receiving the proceeds from the UBS financial loan then purchase PAC LNG’s interest.

“I told him my views that as a government, we should not become an investor,” Duma told the Commissioners.

The COI into the government’s ill decision in 2014 to get the K3 billion UBS loan to purchase shares from Oil Search, is progressing with key people involved in the saga giving evidence.

The final report will be ready for tabling in Parliament next month.


Jemimah Sukbat