NO CONSPIRACY IN PNG BANK SALE

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, June 25) - An inquiry into
the privatization of Papua New Guinea's Government-owned bank has concluded
there was no grand conspiracy in the sale process.

But the six-month inquiry found the sale was rushed and not done
in a transparent and accountable way.

The sale of the PNG Banking Corporation to the Bank of South
Pacific was completed in April last year.

It has been an ongoing source of political controversy.

PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare today tabled the results
of a commission of inquiry into the sale in Parliament.

Somare said it is clear the sale of the bank was not conducted
in a transparent and accountable way.

He said it was rushed so the sale would be complete before last
year's elections.

"We cannot turn the clock back - the name Papua New Guinea
Banking Corporation has gone," he said.

Chief Commissioner Marshall Cooke QC said a better price would
have been received for the bank if the sale had been delayed.

However, he has concluded there is no evidence of any grand
conspiracy in relation to the sale.

June 26, 2003

ABC News Online: http://abc.net.au/news/ 

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