13 May 2014

PNG to probe PNGSDP asset sale

3:17 pm on 13 May 2014

The Papua New Guinea government is to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the sale of PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited's assets.

The Post Courier reports the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill as saying the company's board has no authority to sell off assets, describing the planned move not only illegal but criminal in nature.

He says the assets belong to the Western Province people and the board has no right to sell off assets whilst the issues are in court.

But the chairman of the PNGSDP, Sir Mekere Morauta, says the company is incorporated in Singapore and consequently does not come under the jurisdiction of the inquiry.

Sir Mekere also says the government broke the law when it took over the Ok Tedi mine, saying the action forced the company to sell some of its assets and give the others to the Fly River provincial government and village communities.