PNG GOVERNOR DISPUTES SECRECY OF GAS DEAL

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Members of Parliament all knew about loan: Agiru

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 29, 2011) – Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru said government ministers, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, were part and parcel of the lucrative PNG LNG project deal.

A disappointed Agiru, who was not given the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the controversial PGK900 million [US$408 million] downfall of the IPIC loan of AU$1.6 billion [US$1.5 billion] in parliament, said members of parliament should not pass the buck.

He said the deal was not done in secrecy as O’Neill and the government was claiming.

[PIR editor’s note: Prime Minister O'Neill maintains that the huge LNG project deal was done without the consent of either the National Executive Council or Parliament. O'Neill called the situation "a bad deal," and that "the deals were made by former minister Arthur Somare, who "controlled everything in the former government."]

He said the government locked in for 30 percent equity in the project without any balance sheet but they had to secure the loan from Abu Dhabi to finance the equity.

He said PGK900 million was nothing compared to the windfall the country would be enjoying.

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