Missing K96m found in NSW bank

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday 24th November 2011

ALMOST K100 million owned by a state-owned enterprise has been siphoned off to a bank account in the Australian state of New South Wales and a police investigation is underway to recover the money.
Former public enterprises minister Arthur Somare and former Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd (MVIL) manager director Dr John Mua are implicated.
The money – about K96 million – was the proceeds of the sale of 530,105,100 shares in Bank South Pacific which were owned by MVIL.
Public Enterprises Minister Sir Mekere Morauta announced details yesterday, saying he had ordered the recovery of the money.
“The sale, to an Australian company called Nominees Niugini Ltd, is now the subject of a police investigation.”
He said MVIL sold the shares when under the control of his predecessor Arthur Somare and the former Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) management.
According to Sir Mekere, proper processes had not been followed, and the sale was in breach of Section 45B of the IPBC Act and Section 110 of the Companies Act.
The sale was not approved by the IPBC board, as required, and there was no shareholders’ resolution approving the sale, as required, he added.
The new IPBC board has instructed MVIL to rescind the sale contract, called an equity monetisation contract agreement while starting legal proceedings against MVIL and Nominees Niugini.
“The money is being held in an account owned by a company called Woodlawn Capital, at the Commonwealth Bank in Lismore, New South Wales,” Sir Mekere said while calling on Mua to help recover the money.
“Dr Mua would save the nation a lot of money by assisting us in the recovery of the K96 million and its return to IPBC.
“For the nation to recover the money through court proceedings would be expensive and time-consuming. I would like Dr Mua to help us avoid this.”
Sir Mekere said this when announcing NEC’s endorsement of changes to the MVIL board, adding that no Public Enterprise chairman would be an executive chairman.