O’Neill denies PNG PM Marape's claims on Kroton Equity Funds

 Member for IALIBU-PANGIA  and former PNG prime minister  Peter O’Neill says it was always the intention of his and the Somare governments to hand the 4.27 per cent Kroton equity to the PNG LNG project landowners.

“That was two the government’s commitment to landowners. They were going to get the 4.27 per cent equity. I made that commitment and there are many NEC decisions on this commitment,” he said.

O’Neill said this in response to Prime Minister James Marape’s assertion on Tuesday that almost K1 billion in Kroton equity funds were lost through the Oil Search share purchase.

He said the claim was untrue.

“The facts about the Oil Search share transactions that started 20 years ago are now before a Commission of Inquiry, which is ongoing,” he said.

“He (Marape) should not constantly lie to the public.

“Facts are very clear and no one is running away from them.”

O’Neill said while his government was preparing to transfer the 4.27 per cent to landowners, Southern Highlands Governor William Powi, Hela Governor Philip Undialu and Marape had conspired to arrange middlemen to finance the Kroton equity purchase. “I had no idea what they were doing,” he said.

“They were going behind my back trying to arrange vendor financing, undermining my government’s commitment to the landowners.

“This sort of behaviour by the leaders caused a lot of confusion and frustration among landowners and derailed the clan vetting process that was ongoing.”

O’Neill said this confusion had prompted Komo-Margarima MP Manasseh Makiba to raise the matter in Parliament in January 2019 and he had reiterated that his Government was committed to transferring the shares.

“I promised landowners that once the clan vetting was completed and the proper clan beneficiaries identified, the 4.27 per cent would be theirs,” he said.


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