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PNG Oppostion leaks OC Reports in desperation new Political Low

Statement by the Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, in relation to the leaking by the Opposition of a report from the Ombudsman Commission:

There is a process for the investigation of allegations made to the Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea.

This process has not been followed in relation to the highly politicised issue of the loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland for the purchase of shares in Oil Search Limited.

The leak of the document is clearly political by some in the opposition playing a very dirty game in a desperate attempt to gain support for a change of government.

They have failed to obtain the support of the majority of Members of Parliament, so now this is their latest very low move, leaking documents from Ombudsman without checking facts and denying parties to tell their part of the story.

This matter is likely to be the subject of a judicial review as the parties named were not properly afforded the right to natural justice when the report was in draft.

Media organisations should also be aware that they are likely to be subject to potential legal action by individuals named.

This issue has been dealt with in the courts and on the floor of Parliament on several occasions.
The Supreme Court dismissed the Ombudsman case some time ago, and ruled that the Government has the right to conduct the economic affairs of the State.

The court ruled that the Ombudsman Commission could not direct the Departments of Finance and Treasury to suspend the loan and not make repayments on interest.

This attempted misuse of authority for political reasons was not thought through by the Ombudsman Commission, and the Supreme Court declared the direction of the Ombudsman Commission was unconstitutional and not in the National Interest.

If the Ombudsman Commission’s unconstitutional direction had been followed, Papua New Guinea would have defaulted on an international loan for the first time since Independence.

Our Government will not entertain such reckless attempted political interference.
As was clearly stated over many years, in obtaining the loan, the Government acted to ensure that Papua New Guinea continues to be a participant in resource resources development in Papua New Guinea, and not a bystander.

This was after the Somare Government had previously mortgaged State Owned Enterprises to interests in the Middle East at great expense to the country.

The basis on which this report has been obtained and leaked with malicious intent needs to be investigated.

The Government welcomes any investigation but it must fair and factual. Any member of the Parliament also has the right to raise the issue in the House, and we will again provide the same responses as we have in the past when it was discussed.
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