Last week the National newspaper published an editorial relating to my decisions and associated
comments on various Public Enterprises since becoming Minister in August.
It is my duty to the nation to announce publicly the decisions that I make and to be held accountable for
those decisions as the Minister responsible.
Likewise, the former Minister, Mr Arthur Somare, and the former IPBC management, should accept
responsibility for their actions.
I regard the performance of the former Minister, and the former IPBC management as grossly
negligent. It is beyond argument that they have cost the nation vast sums of money.
Allow me to repeat some facts for the benefit of your readers:
Should I remain silent on these facts? Should I hide them from the people of Papua New Guinea, and hide them from the media?Is the National really suggesting that I should not point out that the appointment of the Somare family’s financial advisor to the managing directorship of the IPBC involved a clear conflict of interest?
I am astonished that a media organisation should call on a Minister to be silent on the facts of publicly-owned businesses and assets, and not explain to the people how they were abused, exploited,
manipulated and stolen from, and precisely who was responsible.
Mr Somare is a politician, and he was responsible for the disasters I have listed above. He must be
held accountable for them. Indeed, Papua New Guineans are entitled to know what he did, and to make
their own judgment about him as a leader.
Your editorial also suggests that I may be making decisions on the basis of personal animosity towards
Mr Somare. That is a deeply offensive assertion. I am motivated by one thing, and one thing only: what
is best for Papua New Guinea.
I have no personal animosity towards Mr Arthur Somare, but I will not hesitate to take on people who
abuse, misuse or waste public assets.
Papua New Guinea must learn from its mistakes, but we cannot do that if the mistakes are swept under
the carpet, which is precisely what Mr Somare and the former IPBC management did. Papua New
Guineans have a right to know who has wrecked and depleted the public institutions that they own.
Journalists have complained about the lack of transparency and accountability at IPBC and SOEs,
including senior National journalists. They have criticised Mr Somare and the former IPBC management
for their secrecy.
Since becoming Minister I have lifted the veil of secrecy from IPBC, and I have explained to the media
and to the Parliament the decisions that I have taken and why those decisions were made.
IPBC is now an open and transparent organisation.
I hope the National is not proposing a return to the bad old days of lack of transparency and
accountability. I also hope that it is not trying to muzzle legitimate political debate.
Mekere Morauta KCMG MP
Minister for Public Enterprises
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