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Sir Salamo sets tentative date for UBS Commission of Inquiry to begin in PNG
4:44 pm GMT+12, 14/08/2019, Papua New Guinea

The commission of inquiry into the Union Bank of Switzerland loan by the Papua New Guinea Government will start on 02 September .
 
This was confirmed by the COI Commissioner Chief Sir Salamo Injia.
 
He said that the schedule was tentative with the venue to be the first floor of the Muruk House along the Kumul Avenue, Central Government Offices in Waigani, Port Moresby.
 
The inquiry period would be for three months commencing from the commencement date of the inquiry.
 
Period allowed for all administrative arrangements to be put in place is from Monday, 12 August, to Friday, 30 August.
 
Counsel assisting the inquiry will be Sam Koim, the former chairman of the taskforce sweep.
 
The terms of reference was also released and the objective is establish facts surrounding:
 
1. The decision by the Government to obtain the loan totaling K3 billion;
 
2. The decision to seek off-shore loan and the decision to select Union Bank of Switzerland as the preferred financier;
 
3. Individuals and entities who were instrumental in the negotiation (the middlemen involved) for and on behalf of the State, how were they engaged and how much were paid as fees for their services as brokers and negotiators; and
 
4. Whether breaches of mandatory Constitutional requirements have occurred and whether there were negligence on the part of leaders and persons involved in the deal.
 
The objective of the commission of inquiry is to establish whether there were breaches of PNG laws and constitutional requirements in the process of negotiation and approval of the UBS loan, and also establish whether PNG as a country had suffered as a result of this offshore deal, and whether the persons involved in the deal can be held accountable for their negligence.
 
The terms of reference will look into the PNG LNG Project, UBS loan, the purchase of Oil Search shares, and sale of Oil Search shares.
 
Under the COI Act the inquiry can summon everyone from government officials (former and current) to companies, including Oil Search Limited, UBS, IPIC and advisers (local and external) to provide responses to it.
The references clearly outline the scope and mandate of the inquiry.
It will start with the source of the UBS loan.
 
This is the IPIC loan for the financing of State’s equity in the PNG LNG Project.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS


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