NEC Establishes Task Force Shield to Protect National Investments and Enforce Accountability

Wednesday 15 May 2024

The National Executive Council has established  an inter departmental task force, called Task Force Shield, to protect national investments and enforce accountability, following   discoveries of mismanagement and illegal activities by the former Trustee and Fund Manager, Melanesian Trustee Services Ltd.

In announcing NEC’s decision, Prime Minister James Marape clarified, this  body is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of these breaches, bringing those responsible to justice without exemption.

“Those found guilty of misusing our people’s investments will face the full severity of our justice system,” affirmed Prime Minister Marape.

The Task Force includes respected professionals across various sectors, reflecting government’s national commitment to integrity and justice

Mr Marape further emphasised his Government’s  commitment  to protecting the investments of all Papua New Guineans, and ensuring accountability at every level of financial management within the nation.

 From the preliminary investigations by the Securities Commission of Papua New Guinea into the Pacific Balanced Fund’s activities from 2010 to 2023,  it had revealed significant breaches of the law, resulting in substantial losses to the retirement savings of citizens.

“Notably, allegations that this entity has misappropriated over K222 million from a total return of K296 million that rightfully belonged to the local unit holders from 2010 to 2022. Such injustices are intolerable and demand decisive action.”

“Under the leadership of Mr. James Joshua, Executive Chairman of the Securities Commission of PNG, and supported by a team of national experts and international law enforcement, Task Force Shield will work diligently to address these wrongs, recover assets, and ensure robust legal action against all offenders.

“This initiative represents a critical component of a broader reform agenda aimed at cleaning up our capital markets and fostering a transparent, attractive investment environment for both local and international investors.

 “Through these efforts, we uphold the spirit of ‘Take Back PNG’ and open new opportunities for growth and prosperity for all Papua New Guineans.”

“I extend my gratitude to the Minister for International Trade and Investment, Hon. Richard Maru, and all involved agencies for their swift and decisive actions in this matter “Task Force Shield is set to deliver its initial findings and commence legal proceedings within the next three months.

“The Government calls upon the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to facilitate this vital work.”

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