Morauta calls PNG PM a 'desperate liar'

5:50 am on 26 April 2019

Papua New Guinea MP and former prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, says Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's claims about the Sustainable Development Fund are lies.

Sir Mekere Morauta

Sir Mekere Morauta Photo: Post Courier

Mr O'Neill said this week that BHP Billiton and Sir Mekere had set up the SDP as a private company with four shareholders, including Sir Mekere.

But Sir Mekere said this is a deliberate lie from a man desperately trying to save face after the SDP had a comprehensive win over the PNG government in the Singapore Supreme Court.

The court this month quashed the PNG government's claim to the Singapore-registered Programme with assets worth about $US1.4 billion.

Sir Mekere also accused Mr O'Neill of lying to the Singapore Court through the state's affidavit, saying he had a document giving the state the power to control SDP.

The veteran MP said the prime minister then failed to produce the document as evidence to the Court, and the court decision exposed him as the liar he is.

He said Mr O'Neill has long wanted to get control of the $US1.4 billion in SDP's Long Term Fund.

This fund was established by the State of Papua New Guinea, BHP Billiton and Inmet, the shareholders of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd in 2000, to hold the BHP shareholding (then 52 percent) gifted by BHP.

The object of PNGSDP was to invest two thirds of the future dividend flows from the shares into a Long Term Fund to be used after the mine closure for sustainable development in Western Province.

One third of the dividend income was spent on development projects throughout the country, including Western Province.

Sir Mekere said PNGSDP was established as a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee, and has no shareholders.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs