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PNG PM Marape on UBS Loan Inquiry

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape admits the controversial 3-Billion Kina plus Union Bank of Switzerland or UBS loan transaction, of which he's implicated, is much deeper than indicated in the Ombudsman Commission Report.

The previously leaked Report was tabled in Parliament last year, implicating high profile figures like former Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, Government's Chief Secretary Issac Lupari, Treasure Dairi Vele, KPH Managing Director Wapu Sonk, Philip Eludeme, and Carl Okuk.

Mr. Marape told Parliament yesterday, the leadership watchdog did not look at the criminality and legality of the entire transaction and urged police to now investigate.

"I as someone named in the report did not stand in the way as Prime Minister stopping the report from progressing.

"I place on record, I was a willing leader to allow this report to come through cabinet which I chaired, and to come into Parliament that I lead as leader of the government to ensure that this report is tabled.

"Knowing fully well that my name is also found by Ombudsman Commission to have played a part in the UBS transaction as Finance Minister.

"I take my mandate and cue from cabinet when I subscribed to cabinet directions and in the two instances that I involved in the UBS transactions after Cabinet's approval.

"But I can’t dwell further in this one because I will present my case before the inquiry that is on foot.

"I walked out from the government I was part of because decent I felt was not in the best interest of the country, but once is OK twice is OK but in the total picture consistently going against the grind of public interest is not right, " Marape told Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has defended the 28 million Kina in taxpayer’s money in funding the public inquiry into the UBS loan scandal, saying it’s worth it.

Deputy Opposition Leader, and Rabaul MP, Dr. Allan Marat had questioned an expensive Commission of Inquiry, when a Report on the UBS loan was already tabled by the Ombudsman Commission.

In response, the Prime Minister said a public inquiry will be able to investigate the issue more broadly, and put the matter to rest.

''28 Million Kina in the context of misapplication of people of Papua New Guinea's money to the tune of 3 billion Kina.

"What is 28 Million Kina against 3 Billion Kina? The case in point that UBS Commission of Inquiry will establish as part of the terms that we have assisted Commission set up is to look at the entire chain from the moment the funs was procured, and what circumstances that gave rise to the procurement of that fund from UBS, up until the final conclusion where the last Toea went, Marape highlighted.

NBC News/ PNG Today

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