Prime Minister Marape refutes claims of impropriety in Connect PNG Contracts

 Wednesday 14 February 2024

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has refuted outright claims made that he has business interest in companies involved in the Connect PNG Program.

The Prime Minister was responding to claims raised by former prime minister and Member for Ialibu-Pangia Hon. Peter O’Neill who levelled a series of questions at him of having shareholding interest in a number of contracted companies building roads under the Marape-led government’s Connect PNG Program.

Prime Minister Marape denied any issue of impropriety.

He said due process is always followed through in Cabinet before a contract is awarded; and not a unilateral decision taken by him in the awarding of these contracts.

“There is a process of voting in Cabinet under my leadership. Decisions are never done unilaterally. We have elevated the level of transparency in my Cabinet. We take a vote on every decision now; I do not make these decisions myself.

“James Marape has no shareholding association with those companies mentioned. I am a public servant-orientated prime minister; not a business orientated one.

“These things are brought up in the face of the Vote of No Confidence to dis credit the captain of government on this side,” he said.

PM Marape urged the former prime minister to take his allegations to the police, Ombudsman Commission, or the Independent Commission Against Corruption which are all there to deal with issues of leadership impropriety.

In defense of Tari-Pori Development Corporation, one of the named companies, PM Marape said this was the business arm of the Tari-Pori Council.

“This is a council company with a 51 percent ownership by Tari-Pori councilors and 49 percent ownership by 200 small shareholders of Tari district who work in Tari. It is not easy to find people to work in remote places like Tari.”

Prime Minister Marape said the Minister for Works will soon present a full report to Parliament that will detail the history of all contractors, their value, and scope of work that should clear the air on the grievous misrepresentations being circulated at the moment.

The report will be done within this session of Parliament.

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