Top officials appear at PNG’s UBS inquiry

Top Papua New Guinea treasury and reserve bank officials have appeared at a Commission of Inquiry into a controversial state loan.

The inquiry is investigating whether the country’s leaders broke the law in 2014 in approving a $US1.2 billion loan from Swiss bank UBS.

PNG’s former government led by Peter O’Neill used the loan to buy a stake in the company Oil Search, but the value of its share bottomed out with falling oil prices.

The Treasurer at the time, Don Polye, was sacked after advising against taking out the loan, saying it was reckless and breached the mandated fiscal debt ceiling.

The inquiry team, headed by former chief justice Sir Salamo Injia, has been conducting witness summonses and setting dates for hearings.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele appeared before the inquiry and over the next month is to provide relevant documents, evidences and statements relating to transactions involved in the loan.

Local media reports that Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani also appeared after being summoned, and will give evidence on 7 April.

The evidence relates to questions on the country’s economic and political situation during the period when the loan was obtained.

The former prime minister Peter O’Neill, as well as current prime minister James Marape were implicated in a report into the loan presented last year by PNG’s Ombudsman Commission.

It’s unclear whether they will also appear at the inquiry.

Earlier this week, another former prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, appeared before the inquiry panel.

Foodie Night 1327x198 ad(1)
Top Stories