Statement by Hon. Peter O’Neill, Leader of the People’s National Congress Party and Member for Ialibu-Pangia
10th March 2020
James Marape continues to grandstand over issues before the Commission of Inquiry into the UBS loan for the purchase of Oil Search shares for the country, of which he was a senior member of NEC as Finance Minister approved that transaction.
He has been making constant claims on social media that he has information of wrongdoing, but then when he went to the Inquiry he had nothing to say. This raises the question, has he been covering up incriminating information all these years, and if so this in itself would amount to him neglecting his responsibilities as a leader in protecting our people’s interests.
Another important point is that the State did not lose K3 billion over the purchase, as Marape claims, the shares were sold back to the market over time and the sale proceeds repaid the UBS loan and the balance returned to the State.
James Marape needs to be responsible and accountable for the statements he posts on social media. The onus is on him to prove his claims, there is absolutely no evidence to back his social media claims, just simply political grandstanding.
The facts are clear, the National Executive Council, that included James Marape, approved the purchase and financing of Oil Search shares so that we could buy back state assets that had been given away to the Arabs, and to enable Papua New Guinea to be a meaningful participant in our oil and gas sector. Sadly, today we are a bystander because of irresponsible social media and self-promoting leaders.
These same Leaders did not utter one word when the Somare Government borrowed over K3 Billion from the Arabs by mortgaging Oil Search Shares and State Assets. Marape knows well that the UBS loan was essential to save the country from the questionable
S$1.1 Billion IPIC loan taken out by the Somare government from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in the Middle East.
This deal sold out our country’s original 10% of shares in Oil Search and made us simple passengers in our own oil and gas sector. It also mortgaged all of our SOEs giving the Arabs control over these SOEs that should rightfully been under the control of Papua New Guinea.
With Cabinet deciding to endorse the UBS loan arrangement with Kumul Petroleum, Papua New Guinea was able to take back control of our SOEs and again have a commercial investment in our oil and gas sector.
If he has been hiding information that is of interest to investigators for the past six years, he must release this to appropriate authorities immediately, or stop grandstanding if these are just more make-believe attention-grabbing claims.