UBS inquiry not a waste of time and money

Prime Minister James Marape says the Royal Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the K3 billion Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) loan is “not a waste of time and money”.

 He said this in response to criticism from the Opposition.

The COI was established to look into the processes and procedures used by former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in 2014, in obtaining the UBS loan and related transactions.

“This will not be another inquiry that collects dust, but will be processed to punish those involved and claim damages.

“I want to tell the nation that the COI is not a waste of time and money. I made a commitment to the nation, the moment I took office in May 2019, that fighting high-level corruption would be one of my Government’s main priorities.

“This is a ‘crime against our nation’ because over K3 billion of PNG LNG money was sucked into this bad deal, for the benefit of a few companies like UBS, Oil Search Ltd and PAC Energy – who picked up US$900 million belonging to the people of PNG,” said the Prime Minister.

He added the UBS COI is being conducted to claim damages and restitution, as well as criminally prosecute individuals who knowingly participated in this deal without due process.

“From evidence already adduced, it is now clear that before Peter O’Neill brought the USB loan submission into Cabinet on March 6, 2014, Botten had already announced details of the submission a week earlier on February 27, 2014. 

“This is an example of scheming behind the scenes, and how Cabinet and Government processes were hijacked to formalise the ‘robbery’ of over K3 billion of PNG LNG revenue.

“This exercise hopefully will put a stop to such abuses from recurring in the future,” Marape said.

Press Release