UBS inquiry ‘interim list of witnesses’

The Royal Commission of Inquiry will look into the process and procedure followed by the PNG Government in obtaining the offshore loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland and related transactions.

In its sitting on December 16th, Commissioners Chief Sir Salamo Injia and John Gilmour QC made six announcements, and included among them was an interim list of witnesses.

The interim witness list appears in four parts, reflecting on the four parts under which the Term of Reference of the inquiry appears.

The Royal Commission will look into the historical perspective of the political and economic system and the role of the government in the economy. It will look into the PNG LNG Project that concerns the 2009 International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) loan, the UBS loan for the Papua LNG Project and the UBS loan concerning the purchasing of the Oil Search shares and the sale of Oil Search shares.

Chief Sir Salamo said: “As shown on the list, the identity of a number of witnesses whose identities have not been established, will be established before the list is finalised and published in the daily newspapers and additional witnesses will be added to this list from time to time.”

Former Prime Ministers; Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Sir Julius Chan, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Sir Mekere Morauta, Paias Wingti and Peter O’Neill, including sitting PM, James Marape, will be asked to give the historical perspective on the political and economic system and the role of the government in the economy.

Loi Bakani, Governor for Central Bank, Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo, Professor Sir Tim Besley, Sir Charles Lepani and UPNG Academics Dr Lawrence Sausse and Professor Lekshmi Pilliai are also on the interim witness list to give an account to the Royal Commission of Inquiry.    

Concerning the IPIC loan, the Inquiry will demand the former prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, the MPs and Ministers; Sam Abel, Patrick Pruaitch, Arthur Somare, William Duma, Dr Allan Marat, former Governor General Sir Paulias Matane, former speaker of Parliament Theo Zurenuoc and the former government house secretary, Tipo Vuatha, to give evidence before the commission.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry will deeply look into the UBS loan that concerns the purchasing of the Oil Search shares and sale of Oil Search shares and will demand Peter O’Neill, former MP Don Polye, Prime Minister James Marape, Minister Kerenga Kua, including other thirty-eight MPs and Ministers of Parliament, to give evidence before the Commission.

Two deceased MPs, the late GG, Sir Michael Ogio and former Speaker of Parliament, the late Jeffrey Nape, were also included in the interim witness list.

All witnesses that are either requested or summoned by the Commission to appear will attend the hearing at the date, time and venue so fixed.

(Chairman of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the UBS loan, Chief Sir Salamo Injia; Article by Albert Moses – third year UPNG Journalism student)

Albert Moses