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PM wants missing billions probed

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PAPUA New Guineans need to know what happened to more than K8 billion in surpluses left in trust accounts under the Somare government, according to Peter O’Neill.
The prime minister said the money disappeared.
He said investigations would continue in the next session of parliament.
O’Neill said when people rubbished the national economy, they were ignoring sound management over the past five years, and they would be better to ask questions as to where the K8 billion went during the 2000s.
“During the Somare government, they delivered surplus budget after surplus budget when global commodity prices were high,” O’Neill claimed.
“There was more than K8 billion from surplus budgets that was placed in trust accounts parked in Waigani.
“With all that money, they never fixed our hospitals, our roads and our airports. They built nothing in the country.
“The National Alliance Somare government continues to hope that they will never be held to account for this.
“When we took over, there was almost zero balance in government accounts.  That is why we had to go into deficit budget to build new infrastructure around the country, to pay for our school fees and to pay for our hospitals.
“In the next parliament, we will continue to investigate the missing billions of the Somare and Morauta governments.
“We are breaking ground on the 300-bed hospital. This is infrastructure that we can only build if we borrow wisely,” O’Neill said regarding a K400 million hospital for Enga.
“These projects, including hospitals, roads, bridges, schools and training colleges, cannot be built from funds in the annual national budget.
“This is the case for Papua New Guinea, and for almost all countries around the world.
“We must thank our friends from China, through Exim Bank funding we are building this hospital, and it is an example of sensible borrowing for the good of our people.
“Most of the Nation’s debt is through concessional loans, such as with our partners including the Asian Development Bank and the Word Bank. The interest rates are much lower than commercial options.”

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