UBS trial awaits: Marape

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ALL those implicated in the K3 billion Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) loan deal will be prosecuted, says Prime Minister James Marape.
Marape called it the “biggest government corruption” deal under the Peter O’Neill-led government.
“After the formation of the (new) government, we will prosecute those who misused money or played a part in the loan (deal),” he said.
Marape said the inquiry into the loan deal was completed in April just when the country was about to start the General Election 2022 process.
“So the Government had to put their prosecution on hold until after the election,” he said.
“We don’t want to be accused of playing politics.
“We are serious about fighting corruption in the country.
“We have started the process and we will continue after the formation of the new government.”
Marape said his Pangu-led government remained steadfast in the fight against corruption.
“(We) also passed the anti-corruption legislation, including the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) Bill, the Whistle Blowers Act and the Proceeds of Crime Bill,” he said.
“They are all part of the effort to fight corruption.
“We will return to office with renewed vigour to recover the billions of kina that have been misused, misappropriated or stolen by past governments.”
The report on the Commission of Inquiry into the K3 billion UBS loan was handed over to Marape by the inquiry chairman, former Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia.
The inquiry, which cost the country about K30 million to conduct, was established by Marape in 2019 shortly after assuming office.
The loan was obtained by the Peter O’Neill-led government in 2014 to buy shares in Oil Search Ltd.

Powi: Violence hindered my performance

SOUTHERN Highlands Governor William Powi has blamed the violence during the General Election 2017 and subsequent court cases for his failure to properly perform his duties.
He told people at Maya village in Ialibu-Pangia on Tuesday that he was chased and held up by people armed with bush knives and guns.
Therefore, he could not settle down properly to deal with the affairs of the province, he said.
But now was the time to free his people from oppression with support from the Pangu Pati.
He told Prime Minister James Marape who was also there, that it was time to free and unite people.
“I managed to improve some services and infrastructure,” he said.
“As a governor, my duty was to improve the 15 high schools, nine secondary schools, Mendi School of Nursing, technical vocational educational training centres, Mendi General Hospital and the district hospitals and roads.
“However, I have improved some of the 38 health centres, 184 primary schools and 153 feeder roads which is the work of the MPs.”
Powi, Goroka MP Aiye Tambua and Finschhaffen MP Renbo Paita accompanied Marape.
Meanwhile, Marape was pleased with his people of Tari-Pori in Hela for showing respect to former prime minister Peter O’Neill when he visited Tari to endorse regional candidate Francis Potape and other candidates last Friday.

5 arrested in Finschhafen over confrontation

FINSCHHAFEN police arrested five men on Monday after a confrontation between supporters of two candidates, says provincial police commander Supt Jacob Singura.
He said the five were locked up in the Gagidu station cells awaiting police to complete their investigation.
The confrontation happened at Mindip village between 10pm and 11pm.
He said supporters of a candidates travelling in a convoy of vehicles were singing and chanting about their candidate as they were approaching Mindip village.
The villagers there confronted them.
“The confrontation led to a vehicle being torched and supporters in the convoy fleeing into the bush,” Singura said.
He said some people in the vehicles received minor injuries.
All the personal belongings in the vehicle that was burnt were allegedly stolen. “Police and soldiers went to Mindip station early on Monday and arrested the five suspects,” he said.
Finschhafen police station commander Sergeant Taki Dewop warned people in the district to refrain from such confrontation as police would arrest anyone trying to disrupt the election process.

Priority cargo … Ballot boxes and other
electoral items being delivered by Royal Australian Airforce C 17 Globemaster from Port Moresby to Nazab Airport in Lae on Monday. The items were offloaded by members of Electoral Commission together with the Australian Defence Force, PNG Defence Force and police. The items were escorted by deployed security personell to the Morobe Election Office. – Picture supplied

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