NBC News
By Rose Amos

The public hearing into the much talked about, the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the process and procedures by the government in obtaining off-shore loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland and related transactions is being deferred to a later date.

The Commission supposed to open the hearing today, the 4th of November.

The anticipated hearing into the matter has been deferred several times since the Prime Minister James Marape made the announcement few months back.

Chairman of the UBS Commission of Inquiry Chief Sir Salamo Injia told reporters today (4th of November 2019) that the Commission is still unable to sit for the hearing because of few administrative factors.

These includes the delay in the arrangement to secure the attendance of overseas Commissioner and Counsel, and the appointment of a firm of solicitors to assist the Commission and Counsel have still not been completed by the government.

Tender for Solisitors’ engagment was published on 22nd October 2019 and closed last Friday. The National Procurement Commission is yet to advise the Commission on the next step.

Also, further funds approved by the Prime Minister in September are yet to be released to the Commission.

Furthermore, the Foreign exchange clearance of payments for preparatory and preliminary work done by overseas Commissioner and Counsel is being held up at the Central Bank and the Tax Office.

Sir Salamo said, until these and other outstanding administrative arrangements are completed by the government agencies concern, this Commission is unable to sit on the schedule day, and is unlikely to sit anytime soon.

The Chairman announced that the opening public hearing is being deferred to a later date this month.

The specific date and time of which is to be advised.

Meantime, the Chairman of the COI has given his assurance that if the delay continues, the Commission may seek the political indulgence of the Attorney General or the Prime Minister to expedite these matters.

Sir Salamo when expressing his concerns on the several delays, says if these administrative arrangements are still not completed in November, the matter will be publicly mention on Monday 16th December for an announcement to be made on the future conduct of the inquiry in early 2020.

He said the Commission repeats its earlier requests for the government agencies and officers responsible to prioritised its request for assistance to enable this Commission to sit in 2019, but it seems they are not giving priorities.

NBC News- Rose Amos


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