Mekere says PNGSDP set up to protect fund

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MORESBY North-West MP Sir Mekere Morauta, pictured, has called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to stop coverting the US$1.4 billion (K4.2 billion) held by PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) in the Long Term Fund.
Sir Mekere, a former prime minister, said PNGSDP was set up by his government to be independent of future governments and to protect it from sticky fingers.
“These monies are to be used for the benefit of the people of Western after mine closure,” he said.
“I want to assure the people of Western that the decision of the court means that those funds are safe.
“The High Court of Singapore has found in its decision that those who wanted to break into the bank cannot succeed. This win means that PNGSDP is free after mine closure to carry out its objectives.”
Sir Mekere welcomed the decision of the Singapore High Court in favour of PNGSDP Ltd and against the State of Papua New Guinea.
“It is a comprehensive victory for PNGSDP and for the people of Western,” Sir Mekere said.
“The State had claimed that there existed a partly written/partly oral agreement between the State and BHP Billiton which allowed those two parties to control PNGSDP.
“But the State could not produce this document to the court – because it does not exist.
The most important findings of the Singapore High Court were that:

  • PNGSDP followed due process in its decisions to change its corporate structure to protect it from people with malicious intent;
  • The State had no legal right to interfere in PNGSDP’s internal affairs or to control its operations;
  • The company’s founding constitutional documents, the memorandum and Articles of association and the programme rules do not provide for external control of the company by the State, BHP or any other party (although they do provide for appropriate transparency and accountability as far as the State and BHP are concerned); and
  • PNGSDP is not a charitable trust as claimed by the State, and as such the State has no legal right to interfere with it.

PNG Sustainable Development Program is an independent incorporated company designed to be controlled by its directors, not by the State, not by BHP, nor by anyone else,” Sir Mekere said.
“I know the company has nothing to hide.”
He was waiting anxiously to hear of any decision made by in relation to the conclusions of the Singapore High Court.

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