Please Explain??

By Emmanuel Narokobi

Well looks like allot of questions being asked lately about the Somare’s. I’ll just cut and paste the articles so you can read them:


By Peter Michael

November 05, 2008 11:00pm

PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his son Arthur have been asked to explain how they obtained a luxury inner-city unit and a new $685,000 beach house.

Documents have emerged linking the PNG Grand Chief and his powerbroker son to the real estate.

PNG’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta, and former finance minister Bart Philemon yesterday said it had to be asked where the money had come from.

Ombudsman Commission legal counsel Vergil Narokobi, one of the top three most senior officials with the anti-corruption watchdog, said they would investigate.

“It is quite possible it is legitimate,” Mr Narokobi said.

“We will look to see if there were any breaches of the leadership code.

“To afford such luxuries it is not something ordinary Papua New Guineans can do. It is a situation of unfairness, but that is my own personal view.

“We have to give them the benefit of doubt. On the face of it we will respect our leaders until the contrary is shown.”

Documents obtained by The Courier-Mail show Sir Michael obtained a $349,000 three-bedroom executive-style apartment with private plunge pool in inner-city Cairns in April last year, in a deal brokered by a Gold Coast lawyer.

Two months ago, Arthur Somare, who is PNG’s State Enterprise Minister and a political heavyweight, bought a $685,000 four-bedroom home with his wife at Trinity Beach.

Mr Somare, who plans to move his family to Australia to live, has just sealed a US$20 billion deal over access to PNG’s liquid natural gas reserves with a consortium from the Middle East.

Cairns builder Michael Case, who sold the house to Mr Somare in August, said: “He is a fabulous guy, everything was done above board.”

Agents for the unit’s sale said it was bought at the time of last year’s PNG election after protracted negotiations. The vendor, R & H Constructions (Qld) Pty Ltd, went bankrupt while building the $5 million unit block – with no trace of former directors.

Sir Michael, who was in Cairns last week for a historic address to Queensland Parliament, declined a request for an interview and did not respond to a series of written questions.

His son Arthur also did not respond to questions about his new property.

Sir Michael, who has refused to provide details of his overseas assets since 1992 under the leadership code, is fighting a Supreme Court action against the Ombudsman Commission.

Opposition Leader Sir Mekere said the Somare family owed it to the PNG people to reveal their assets.

“They should both publicly explain how they obtained this real estate,” said Sir Mekere, who this year bought a $3.6 million riverfront mansion at New Farm in Brisbane’s inner city under his wife Roslyn’s name.

Former finance minister and anti-graft campaigner Mr Philemon said: “They have got to tell people in PNG how they funded those properties, otherwise it smells like corruption.”

Father and son urged to explain IPBC deal PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare and his son and Public Enterprise Minister Arthur Somare have been challenged to publicly reveal the true status of the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC).

Opposition leader and Moresby North West MP Sir Mekere Morauta said a number of statements made by Mr Somare last week did give some indication of the true story behind IPBC. He asked: “Who owns IPBC?  “How independent is it?  “Independent of what? “And, independent from whom?” He said it was odd that Mr Somare had refused to reveal details of IPBC’s financing option for equity not adding to Government debt, citing reasons of “ongoing discussions”.
“In other words, IPBC has the power to borrow large amounts of money without impacting public finances. “How very odd can that get?” Sir Mekere asked.
In the same article, Mr Somare said the IPBC had a strong balance sheet of K7 billion “to negotiate with”. “Was he implying that IPBC’s assets were not owned by the Government; that they were in some way separate from or independent of the Government? “Is this the case, Arthur Somare? Please explain.”
He said Mr Somare must tell the people what assets IPBC had, where he found them, and how much he paid for them.
Sir Mekere also called on Papua New Guineans to demand full and proper explanations from Mr Somare, Glen Blake and IPBC. “This matter is very serious.
“It is in our interest to have IPBC explain the extent of its independence and ownership structure.
“It is clear that a certain minister is being empowered by Cabinet to create a very large investment and financial empire, the size of which will rival the State.
“It is morally wrong to have one person responsible for the management of such a large commercial empire.
“Papua New Guineans must not allow this tree to grow roots, branches and leaves.
“The people will be the losers.”
Sir Mekere also urged the Government to withdraw its appointment of IPBC in the gas project.
“The Prime Minister can easily overturn that decision. “Petromin, which the Prime Minister created expressly to hold State equity in this project, is the right home for the shares,” Sir Mekere said.

7 thoughts on “Please Explain??

  1. Like I have said before folks…

    There was a time when the chiefs could be trusted but that time has long gone!!


    NB: I am curious how the Somare’s will be remembered in generations to come.

  2. The IPBC stinks – it absolutely stinks! I’ve been trying to find out more about it but brick walls and ceilings are everywhere…

    And THAT is the crux of the stench – the lack of transparency.

    Have to say though, Sir Mek hasn’t done too bad himself – a AU$3.6 million pad?

    Can they remember the days when they sat in the dirt and had bananas for breakfast?

    85% of PNGeans still live their memories every day…

    Tubuans & Dukduks

  3. More Fun here from the Post Courier:

    Gas funds plan under fire

    A TOP government adviser has written a strongly critical analysis of the Government’s proposal to finance its share of the huge liquefied natural gas project.

    Treasury Secretary Simon Tosali criticised the State’s exposure on the value of its shares in Oil Search Ltd and said the plan for a bond issue was not made in the open market and might not be the best deal for the country.

    State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare won NEC’s approval recently to use the Independent Public Business Corporation as the State’s nominee for the $US15.5 billion LNG project.

    Mr Somare has proposed to finance the State’s share of the project, $US1.681 billion, with exchangeable bonds through a plan called Project Kumul.

    In reply to Mr Tosali’s blunt assessment, IPBC managing director Glenn Blake said that he was concerned the “structure and mechanics of the exchangeable’’ had not been “well understood’’ and this had led to misconceptions and incorrect interpretations.

    Mr Blake referred to the deal proposed with International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), a wholly owned company of the Government of the Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

    IPIC proposed a concessional loan facility for $US2 billion and an exchangeable bond issue by IPBC for $US1.45 billion.

    The concessional loan would finance the State of PNG’s interest in the LNG project. The controversial bond issue would involve giving the Emirates company the right to buy the PNG Govern-ment’s Oil Search shares “at an unknown time up to five years into the future’’ according to Mr Tosali, who wrote to Mr Blake on October 21.

    He commented: “… therefore, the State effectively is deciding now to sell its holding in Oil Search, at some unknown time during the next five years, for a price that it does not currently know. This would appear to be rather an unusual decision to take.”

    Mr Tosali said the Government’s shareholding in Oil Search was a significant asset and any “divestment decision should be carefully considered”.

    Mr Blake said in his written reply two days later that the transaction established a sale price of $A8.55 a share for its Oil Search shares, a price more than 100 per cent above its current market price.
    While the timing for when IPIC would choose to exchange the bonds for the shares was at the Arabs’ discretion, “it is unequivocally clear that this occurs at a price of $8.55. Not, as you incorrectly suggest, at a price that we do not currently know’’.

    He said IPBC strongly rejected Mr Tosali’s assessment that the State was effectively deciding now to sell its OSL shareholding at “some unknown time’’ in the next five years for “a price it does not currently know’’.
    Mr Tosali, in his October 21 letter, said if after the five years the price for Oil Search shares was lower than $A8.55, the State of PNG would have to transfer the shares to the bond holder and pay them “the difference between the market price and $A8.55’’.

    He added: “The issue of the bonds may result in the ultimate takeover of Oil Search by unknown parties. The bonds contain no mechanism to protect the interests of the State or the people of PNG if such a takeover should eventuate.”

    Mr Blake said of the Tosali argument about a possible debt for PNG to pay if the shares fell below $8.55, it was “a correct interpretation of the legal arrangements”.

  4. Thanks Hiralfhere, unfortunately for us unfortunates there are so many issues and interests at play here that we will never be able to understand which way the wind will blow in all of this.

  5. Thanks Hiralfhere, unfortunately for us unfortunates there are so many issues and interests at play here that we will never be able to understand which way the wind will blow in all of this. For example this is the latest:

    Petromin Withdraws Judicial Review Through Consent Order

    Petromin PNG Holdings Limited has withdrawn the Judicial Review seeking declaratory and injunctive Orders on the nomination of IPBC as the State Nominee in the PNG LNG project.

    Chairman of Petromin, Mr. Brown Bai, said after further consultation with the Petromin Trust Managers and the Trustee Shareholder (Prime Minister) the State has agreed that Petromin is in the PNG LNG project, in the context of the recent NEC Decision nominating IPBC as the State Nominee.

    “The parties have mutually consented for Petromin to be part of the Joint-Venture.

    “This is the sort of clarity that the Board was seeking. As it is, the NEC Decision does not make any mention of Petromin.

    “What the Board was seeking was for Petromin to be in the project through a JV structure that it was negotiating with the State, consistent with Petromin’s legal mandate,”Mr. Bai said.

    Mr. Bai said both Petromin and IPBC have a role to play in the overall development of PNG and it is important that they work together to facilitate the realisation of the PNG LNG project.

    In the meantime, Mr. Bai said financing of the State’s equity in the LNG project is a separate issue. He said Petromin did not seek Judicial Review on this matter.

    “Petromin sought legal redress on the process of nomination, not financing”, Mr. Bai said.

    He said how the State finance its equity is the State’s prerogative. Petromin would work with the State to facilitate its participation in the proposed Joint Venture purely on commercial terms.

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