UBS loan

O’Neill before inquiry

The former Prime Minister said he is surprised that senior ministers who were part of his 2014 cabinet, were not briefed on the K3 billion UBS loan and other transactions. 

“For any NEC cabinet decision, the Prime Minister does not make unilateral decisions,” said Mr O’Neill.

He said the complex transaction to acquire the K3 billion loan from UBS was to buy back shares from IPIC.

In 2019, the Somare-led government acquired loans from IPIC, Abu Dhabi to fund the PNG LNG project.

Duma: I was decommissioned because of my 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.  

State Solicitor Gives Evidence

Among people summoned today was State Solicitor Daniel Rolpagarea. In his capacity as the state solicitor, he was responsible for legal clearance of the loan deal.

Daniel Rolpagarea said to his knowledge Parliament never approved the K3 billion UBS loan.

He said, he was pressured on 5th of March, 2014 to give legal clearance, as cabinet was to sit the following day, 6th of March to discuss the loan.

Eight eye witnesses fail to show up

The inquiry was scheduled for Tuesday 30th March and Wednesday 31st March, 2021.

Tuesday’s hearing proceeded with the statement of the Late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare; it was read by his lawyer, Sir Arnold Amet.

Other witnesses who failed to turn up include, Sir Julius Chan, Chief Dr. John Momis, Sir John Kaputin, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Sir Charles Lepani, Dr. Clement Waine, Dr. Lawrence Sause and Dr. Solomon Awili.

Aust solicitors to assist in CoI

The contract signing was held recently at the Government House between Governor General Sir Bob Dadae and Minter Elison Solicitors, represented by Michael Sullivan from Leahy Lewin Lowing and Sullivan Lawyers.

The contract is at a value of K18 million.

Ellison Solicitors will provide seven solicitors and other technical personnel who will support the Commission and the three overseas Counsel assisting the Commission.

UBS inquiry ‘interim list of witnesses’

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.

UBS CoI roadmap announced

Commissioners Chief Sir Salamo Injia and John Gilmour QC announced this in their first sitting since their appointment was formalised early this year.

The siting also marks the public opening hearing of the inquiry.

In its first sitting, the Commission made six announcements. These include:

I will resign if implicated: PM

Marape made this statement in Parliament when responding to questions raised yesterday.

He said the inquiry will begin soon and those implicated must face the full force of justice.

PM Marape went on and urged the Ombudsman Commission to go beyond their investigation and hold those implicated accountable.

“I am not fearful of this inquiry. If I am found to have conducted improperly when the inquiry is terminated, I will be the first one to resign from this office, Mr Speaker,” he said.

CoI into controversial UBS loan

Prime Minister James Marape announced this in Parliament on June 26th while giving his statement on the Ombudsman Commission Report.

Marape stated that a full Commission of Inquiry will be conducted into the alleged improper borrowing of A$1.239 billion from the UBS and those implicated will be dealt with accordingly.

VIDEO: UBS Loan Zero Balance

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill made the statement on the floor of parliament on Wednesday morning when replying to questions from Sina-Sina Yongamugl MP and Opposition member Kerenga Kua.

 

Meredith Kuusa with more