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PNG Prime Minister Marape Addresses Allegations of Impropriety in Connect PNG Contracts

In a firm response to accusations, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister  James Marape has categorically denied any business interests in companies involved in the Connect PNG Program. The statements were prompted by former Prime Minister and Member for Ialibu-Pangia Hon. Peter O’Neill, who raised concerns about potential shareholding interests held by Marape in companies awarded contracts for road construction under the Connect PNG Program.

 PNG Prime Minister Marape Addresses Allegations of Impropriety in Connect PNG Contracts

Prime Minister Marape emphasized that due process is rigorously followed within the Cabinet before any contract is awarded, highlighting that decisions are not unilaterally made by him. He asserted, "There is a process of voting in Cabinet under my leadership. Decisions are never done unilaterally. We have elevated the level of transparency in my Cabinet. We take a vote on every decision now; I do not make these decisions myself."

Addressing the specific allegations, Prime Minister Marape refuted any association with the mentioned companies, stating, "James Marape has no shareholding association with those companies mentioned. I am a public servant-orientated prime minister; not a business orientated one."

He expressed his belief that such accusations are brought forth as the Vote of No Confidence looms, aiming to discredit the government's leadership. In response to the allegations, PM Marape encouraged Hon. Peter O’Neill to take the matter to appropriate authorities such as the police, Ombudsman Commission, or the Independent Commission Against Corruption, institutions equipped to handle issues related to leadership impropriety.

Defending Tari-Pori Development Corporation, one of the implicated companies, PM Marape clarified that it is the business arm of the Tari-Pori Council. He explained, "This is a council company with a 51 percent ownership by Tari-Pori councilors and 49 percent ownership by 200 small shareholders of Tari district who work in Tari. It is not easy to find people to work in remote places like Tari."

Prime Minister Marape assured that the Minister for Works will present a comprehensive report to Parliament, providing a detailed account of the contractors' history, their value, and the scope of work. This report aims to dispel any misinformation circulating and bring clarity to the situation.

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