Process ignored: Micah

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FORMER minister for State enterprises Ben Micah has told the Commission of Inquiry into the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) loan deal that the Bank of PNG (BPNG) did not have the authority to appoint CitiBank or UBS to be the financiers of the International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) loan.
Micah said it was only the Cabinet who approved such loans and that was not properly concluded, therefore, the submissions that came for the purported approval of the loan were not known.
“I don’t know where it was prepared and I deny that I was even consulted on the content of the submissions,” he said.
“The process of completing the meeting to finance the IPIC loan wasn’t completed.
“Had it been completed, then I would have been the minister responsible for the sale of Oil Search shares and PNG LNG, to prepare that submissions to appoint either CitiBank or UBS to be the financier of the IPIC loan.”
Micah said the submissions referred to the financing of 10 per cent additional shares in Oil Search and “there’s nothing to do with IPIC because it had already claimed the shares in Oil Search”.
“There was no way that I could be part of the submission,” he said.
“I never saw one word of that submission, neither did I sign it.”
Micah was responding to questions put to him by counsel assisting the inquiry Dr James Renwick on whether he had played any role in the submissions.
As for the UBS transaction, Micah said he had had issues with the loan.
“For the UBS loan, there was a lot of procedural mistakes, irregularities, unethical dealings, illegal dealings in the whole transaction,” he said.
“Many of this information was known later after further research and more inquiry into how the transaction took place.
“I was not aware of many of the details of the transaction.”