O’Neill responds to leaked report

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AN Ombudsman Commission report on an investigation into the process the Government followed to obtain a K3 billion loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland in 2014 has been leaked to the public.
And Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in a statement yesterday said the leaking of the document was “political and a desperate attempt to gain support for a change in government”.
The report implicates a number of politicians (current and former) and bureaucrats relating to the loan which was obtained to buy shares in Oil Search Limited.
O’Neill yesterday warned the matter was likely to be the subject of a judicial review as the parties named were not properly afforded the right to natural justice when the report was in draft form.
“Media organisations should also be aware that they are likely to be subject to potential action by individuals named,” he said.
O’Neill said the Government welcomed any investigation “but it must be fair and factual”.
“Any Member of the Parliament has the right to raise the issue in the House and we will again provide the same responses as we have done in the past when it was discussed,” he said.
“This issue has been dealt with in the courts and in Parliament on several occasions.”
He said the Supreme Court had dismissed the Ombudsman’s case and ruled that the Government had the right to conduct the economic affairs of the State.
“The court ruled that the Ombudsman Commission could not direct the departments of Finance and Treasury to suspend the loan and not make repayments on interest.”

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