Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited must do the right thing and respond to the summons of the Public Accounts Committee, Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven said on Friday.
“I want to clarify to the people of Papua New Guinea and to the KPHL Board and management that the powers of the Public Accounts Committee are quite clear under the Constitution,” he said in a statement.
Mr Steven said there had been arguments raised questioning and challenging the PAC mandate that the oil company was separate from the State-owned entities and was not subject to processes, including scrutiny of its financial affairs by the Permanent Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.
“These arguments, in my view, are erroneous and misleading to the general public as to the intention of the law,” Mr Steven said.
“The fact that the State owns the interests in petroleum projects and the KPHL is a nominee of the State to hold its interests for and on behalf of the people of PNG, this brings the KPHL under the jurisdiction of the Public Accounts Committee.”
He said the PAC is the body that the Constitution has mandated with that responsibility by giving it a broad mandate to examine and report to the Parliament on the public accounts of Papua New Guinea, and on the control of and on transactions with or concerning, the public moneys and property of PNG.
“It is not in PNG’s national interest and has always not been the intention of establishing the KPHL that it should not be open to public scrutiny of its financial accounts, where such requests made by the Public Ac- counts Committee.
“KPHL must now do the right thing and respond to the summons of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee,” Mr Steven said.
“I am concerned that State institutions and businesses like KPHL are questioning the authority of the Parliament. KPHL including the Mineral Resources Development Authority (MRDC ) are trust companies holding the interests of the citizens of Papua New Guinea.
“I therefore urge all government departments, agencies, SOEs to answer to the demands of our people and work together with the political leadership and the relevant bodies established by the Constitution to change PNG. Our people demand that.”