RECENT media reports mentioned that both Oil Search Ltd managing director, Peter Botten and UBS Australian branch managing director Guy Fowler have resigned and are retiring respectively, following the recent release of the UBS loan report by the Ombudsman Commission.
One may asked whether their resignation and retirement are on their own or is it not coincidental to the release of the UBS loan report by the Ombudsman Commission.
Why resign and retire now at this time, raising concerns and suspicions?
The 2014 loan deal according to media reports which was supposedly concocted or hatched over “a cup of coffee”, by a group of four people, has been described as inappropriate, irregular, lacked transparency, highly speculative, and not in compliance with administrative and financial processes including normal borrowing processes.
And according to media reports, the round table at which the ‘cups of coffee’ were prepared only catered for four people, which appears to add to the sinister and suspicious motives as to what was actually discussed during the hatching of this smelly egg?
These appears to be confirmed by the manner in which this smelly egg (loan deal) was pushed through over “a cup of coffee” by only four people, seemingly without due regards to the principles of good, consultative and transparent governance and without the presence of others.
According to media reports, the country through Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd was said to have lost about US$234 million (K774mil) or K1 billion on this smelly egg deal after being forced to sell out of Oil Search Ltd, in September 2017 as its shares price fell sharply.
In 2016, and unknown to the people, the original loan arrangements were amended which brought in JP Morgan bank in addition to UBS. And as part of this new arrangements, the purchased shares were held as collateral by these two banks.
Both JP Morgan and the UBS banks sold their shares at the same time as the shares fell and were reported to have gained millions in fees and interests from the deal, without much problems, whilst the poor people of this country gained nothing.
So it would seem that both the resignation and retirement of Oil Search Ltd managing director, Peter Botten and UBS (Australian) branch managing director Guy Fowler are no coincidences after all.
In response to the tabling of the Ombudsman Commission’s UBS loan report on June 26, O’Neill has declared that he will be the first to testify in the coming commission of inquiry, claiming that he had done nothing wrong and that he had not negotiated with any officials, putting back the negotiations issue to the Treasury officials!
What about the “cup of coffee” round table discussions, held by the “group of four” at a well-known Port Moresby hotel, where an agreement was hatched and struck to purchase shares in Oil Search Ltd?