Bryan Kramer MP | PNG Blogs | February 09, 2018
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was caught lying and misleading Parliament during question time when it resumed its first session in 2018 on Tuesday.
O’Neill was responding to a question raised by the Governor of Western Province, Toboi Yoto asking when his people would benefit from Oktedi Mine and when they would receive the share certificates.
Western Governor explained that since the O’Neill Government took over the mine in September 2013 it had failed to transfer the share certificates representing 33% interest in the mine to the Western Province people. Further, still, they had yet to receive their dividends.
In response, O’Neill claimed when his Government took over the mine from BHP, who at the time wanted to shut down the mine for not being profitable. He said the Government inherited a loss-making machine.
He confirmed his Government has yet to transfer 33% interest to the landowners, claiming it was because of stamp duties issue.
Member for Moresby North-West Sir Mekere Mortaua interjected with a point of order. Mekere a former PNG Sustainable Chairman told O’Neill to stop his incurable lies [about the mine]. There was never any plans to shut down the mine it was not making any loss but investing in further explorations, Sir Mereke said.
O’Neil responded telling Mekere that he was only trying to protect his legacy of providing immunity (protection) to BHP, the mines former developer who destroyed the lives and livelihood of the people through environmental damage.
“It was loss-making machine when we took it over but we had to restructure the mine during the drought and paid off all the employees making a profit,” he said (source post courier article – https://postcourier.com.pg/ok-tedi-issue-heats/)
It was at this point I then interjected asking the Speaker to advise the Prime Minister to stop lying and misleading parliament. As I had in front of me 2012 OkTedi Financial Report confirming the mine was, in fact, making a profit.
O’Neill responded I was a busybody from Madang on social media.
So was O’Neill lying when he claimed the Oktedi Mine was a loss-making machine before he took over it?
O’Neill took over the mine in 2013, so let’s review the mine’s profits four years before and four years after from when he took over it.
- In 2009 net profit K1.5 Billion
- In 2010 net profit 2.03 Billion
- In 2011 net profit K1.2 Billion
- In 2012 net profit of K913 million
- In 2013 net profit of K181 million
- In 2014 net profit of K360 million
- In 2015 net loss of -K347 million
- In 2016 net profit of K384 million
This confirms O’Neill was lying and misleading parliament.
What O’Neill failed to disclose that soon after taking over the mine companies he held a direct and indirect interest in where awarded substantial contracts to service the mine.
So perhaps he was referring to his own companies being a loss making machines until he took over the Mine and thereafter they started turning over million Kina profits.
It is not the first time O’Neill has unashamedly lied both on the floor of Parliament and in the public arena.
In the height of 2017 General Elections O’Neill made an announcement while on the campaign trail in Tari that his Government had made the decision to transfer the 4.27% Kroton shares to the PNG LNG landowners.
“Today I am announcing that the national government will transfer 25 per cent of Kroton shares, which is 4.2 percent indirect interest in the PNG LNG project,” he said.
“The shares to be transferred to landowners and provincial governments in Hela, Southern Highlands, Gulf, Western and Central province are valued at K3.5 billion,
“Our Government is providing 25 per cent of Kroton shares to landowners and beneficiary groups that should rightfully be receiving benefits from the PNG LNG project.
“These shares will enable the landowners and communities and the provinces to secure a better future and to be more self-sufficient.
“This Government has made it our business to correct bad decisions from the past, particularly when this relates to land ownership.
“I was not a signatory to the initial Umbrella Benefits Sharing Agreement in 2009, but I have made sure that our government does the right thing by our people today.
“This in the same spirit as the transfer of 17.4 percent of BCL shares to the landowners and people of Bougainville by the national government.”
“It is the same as the transfer of 33 per cent ownership in Ok Tedi” O’Neill said. (source https://www.thenational.com.pg/clans-promised-shares/)
So did O’Neill transfer the 4.27% of Kroton shares in the PNG LNG Project to the landowners? Did he transfer the 33 per cent ownership in the Oktedi mine to Western landowners?
The answer is NO.
Such statements maybe construed as undue influence (criminal offence under Section 102) When a person makes a false statement to induce a voter to vote in a particular way knowing the statement to be false.
This explains why O’Neill is commonly referred to as a Pathological Liar – defined as habitual or compulsive lying.
It is certainly embarrassing knowing such a person occupies the office of Prime Minister where his shrewd conduct and poor character reflects on our Nation of 8 million people.
Following the formation of the Government in August 2017 I asked members of the Opposition who previously served under O’Neill why they abandoned his Government – they responded because he was forever lying, making commitments or promises he would never honor. “We got tired of his lies and left” they said.