Showing posts with label Prime Minster of Papua New Guinea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prime Minster of Papua New Guinea. Show all posts

Brief Biography of Sir Michael Somare - "Father of the Nation"

Sir Michael Thomas Somare was born on 9 April 1936 in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. He was of Papuan cultural heritage and was raised in a Catholic household. He received his education at the Administrative College in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Biography of Sir Michael Somare

"Father of the nation"

Sir Michael Somare was a prominent Papua New Guinean politician who played a crucial role in the country's journey to independence from Australia. 

He was widely known as the "father of the nation" and served as Papua New Guinea's first Prime Minister after independence in 1975.

He held the office of Prime Minister for a total of 17 years over three separate (non-consecutive) terms:

  • from 1975 to 1980; 
  • from 1982 to 1985; and 
  • from 2002 to 2011, 
Making him the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Papua New Guinea.

Read about Sir Julius Chan, here.

Sir Michael Somare's positions of power

Throughout his political career, Sir Michael Somare held various positions, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leader of the Opposition, and Governor of East Sepik Province. 

He was a founding member of the Pangu Party, which led Papua New Guinea into independence, but later resigned from the party and became an independent politician in 1988. 

He rejoined the Pangu Party in 1994 but was eventually sacked as a leader in the following year.

He was then asked to join and lead the National Alliance Party.

Sir Michael Somare awards

Apart from his political achievements, Sir Michael Somare was also recognized with several awards, including the 

  • Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George,
  • Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great, 
  • Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu, and 
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan).

Sir Michael Somare passed away on 26 February 2021 at the age of 84 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, due to pancreatic cancer. 

He left a significant legacy as a respected leader and statesman who played a pivotal role in shaping the history of Papua New Guinea.

MUST WATCH: Find out about the PNG prime ministers, past and present.

How James Marape Toppled Peter O'Neill to Become the Prime Minister of PNG in 2019

James Marape emerged as a key player in the political landscape of Papua New Guinea in 2019 when he successfully orchestrated a Vote of No Confidence against the then Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. 

Marape, who had been the finance minister under O'Neill's People's National Congress (PNC) Party for 8 years, cited "trust issues" as the main reason for his resignation from the government. This move set off a chain of events that ultimately led to Marape becoming the Prime Minister of PNG. 

Let's take a look at the chronological order of events that unfolded in April and May 2019, as recorded in this article on PNG Insight.


prime ministers of PNG - Vote of no confidence on PM James Marape 2023

James Marape's Resignation

In April 2019, James Marape resigned as the finance minister and member of the PNC Party, citing "trust issues" with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill as the main reason for his decision. 

Marape, a young leader known for his smooth-talking approach, had the admiration of both young and old MPs in the parliament, which set the stage for a potential change in leadership.

Vote of No Confidence Motion

Following Marape's resignation, a Vote of No Confidence (VoNC) motion was tabled in the parliament on May 7, 2019. 

Marape was seen as a driving force behind the motion, which aimed to remove Peter O'Neill as the Prime Minister of PNG. 

The motion was supported by a coalition of opposition MPs and some defecting PNC members who cited "trust and confidence" issues in O'Neill's leadership.

Moves to Deter the Vote of Confidence

In the lead-up to the VoNC, there were several moves by the government to deter the successful passing of the motion. 

This included attempts to offer big promises and large sums of money to MPs to sway their votes, as well as seeking legal interpretations and delaying tactics to validate the technical aspects of the VoNC. 

The Speaker of the parliament, who was perceived to be aligned with the government, also played a role in this strategy.

VoNC Voting Session

The actual VoNC voting session was initially scheduled for 7 days after the tabling of the motion, but was later extended to 21 days by the parliament privilege committee. 

Finally, on May 28, 2019, the voting session took place in the parliament. 

Marape's strategic moves and the support of opposition MPs and defecting PNC members resulted in a successful passing of the motion, and Peter O'Neill was ousted as the Prime Minister of PNG.

James Marape Becomes Prime Minister

Following the successful passing of the VoNC motion, James Marape was elected as the new Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. 

His strengths as a former finance minister, his support from both young and old MPs, and his reputation as a smooth-talker were key factors that contributed to his rise to power. 

Marape's government promised to address issues such as corruption, resource development, and social services, and he pledged to be a leader for all Papua New Guineans under the banner 'Take Back PNG' with the political slogan 'Make PNG the Richest Black Nation'.

James Marape PNG prime minister

Future Vote of No Confidence in PNG

As Papua New Guinea anticipates future votes of no confidence, the events that unfolded in 2019 provide insights into possible strategies and moves that may be employed by MPs and political parties. 

This includes attempts to sway votes through promises of money and other incentives, seeking legal interpretations and delaying tactics, and the role of the Speaker in the process. 

However, the outcome of a VoNC ultimately depends on the numbers and consensus among MPs, as well as the leadership and strategic skills of the candidates vying for the position of Prime Minister.

PNG Changing Political Landscape

The events that unfolded in the lead-up to the vote of no confidence in Papua New Guinea in 2019 serve as a reminder that politics is a constantly evolving landscape.

For those who are anticipating the next vote of no confidence in PNG's prime minister, the events of 2019 offer several valuable lessons. 

  • Firstly, the role of money and promises cannot be understated in swaying the opinion of MPs. 
  • Secondly, legal interpretations and technicalities can be used as delaying tactics, and it is important for both sides to be aware of this possibility.


Ultimately, the outcome of any future vote of no confidence in PNG will depend on a range of factors, including the strength of the opposition's candidate, the loyalty of MPs, and the political manoeuvring that takes place behind the scenes. 

Only time will tell who will emerge victorious in the next vote of no confidence, but one thing is for certain - it will be a closely watched and closely contested event.

Watch this brief overview of the past and present PNG prime ministers.


Royal Commission of Inquiry into procedures and processes followed by the Government of Papua New Guinea in obtaining the off-shore loan from Union Bank of Switzerland and related transactions.

This file was originally submitted by ActNow PNG. 


Executive Summary

1.1   This Commission of Inquiry was established under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1951 by Instrument dated 30 August 2019 and, as amended in October 2021, it required a report to be delivered to the Prime Minister, the Honourable James Marape MP, by 31 March 2022. This is that Report.

1.2   This Executive Summary gives an overview of the Commission's work, and of some key conclusions and recommendations. It must be read with the Report as a whole, noting that individual chapters contain a comprehensive analysis of the often complex issues and evidence they each cover. Each generally concludes with relevant findings and recommendations. The Commission's key conclusions and recommendations follow this summary.

1.3   The rationale for this Commission is explicitly stated in the establishing Instrument as follows:

The decision of the Government of Papua New Guinea made in 2014 to obtain an off- shore loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) has become controversial following the tabling of the Ombudsman Commission Investigation Report in Parliament in May 2019. The Prime Minister upon assuming office undertook to convene a Commission of Inquiry to establish facts surrounding the whole transaction, including all persons and entities involved in the deal and whether or not the deal followed proper and legal process and procedures.

In order to appreciate the public concerns on improprieties in regard to the whole deal it is necessary and important that the Commission of Inquiry commences inquiry with the cause which brought about the need for the Government of the day to seek funding from an off-shore loan facility. This necessitates the Inquiry to commence its investigation with the States participation in the PNG LNG Project, including the purchase of shares and the disposal of the same.

1.4   The Ombudsman Commission Report is titled:

An Investigation Into The Alleged Improper Borrowing Of MN AuS1.239 Billion Loan From The Union Bank Of Switzerland ... (Australia Branch) To Purchase 149,390,244 Share[s] In Oil Search Limited ...

1.5   This is a reference to what this Report calls the UBS Loan. It is one of the key financial transactions examined by the Commission, the other being the Exchangeable Bond Transaction that IPBC entered into with IPIC in 2008.

1.6   The Ombudsman Commission Report made serious findings of illegality and failure to follow proper procedures, but its jurisdiction was limited to investigating complaints concerning actions of governmental bodies and agencies, and the actions of 'Leaders' as defined in the Leadership Code. Unlike this Commission, the Ombudsman Commission could not investigate private citizens or entities, even those who had been paid to advise or perform other services for the State, such as lawyers NRFA and UBS itself.

1.7   It might have been expected that such well-paid former advisers would unstintingly assist the Commission, even though they are located overseas and beyond the reach of the Commission's compulsory powers, but they have not. This surprising and disappointing behaviour has certainly limited what the Commission could achieve, and along with other findings of this Report, merits their exclusion from work for the State and its entities for some time to come.

1.8   Although the public concern generated by the Ombudsman Commission Report clearly led to this Commission, this Commission is not a review of the Ombudsman Commission's work, nor can this Commission decide legal controversies as a court can.

1.9   Nonetheless, despite the well-known difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission has been able to examine thoroughly a great many witnesses, entirely in live-streamed hearings which were held in public, and much documentary evidence, and to answer the Terms of Reference by the due date. The Commission acknowledges with gratitude the work of all those who made this significant achievement possible.

1.10   Papua New Guinea is blessed with abundant natural resources, which were largely unexploited before independence was attained in 1975. The need for wise and sustainable exploitation of natural resources focused the minds of the founders of the newly independent State and was reflected in the terms of the Constitution which, for example, declares in National Goal 4 that 'natural resources and the environment are to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of all and be replenished for the benefit of future generations'. Equally, evidence to this Commission from founders such as Sir Julius Chan and the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare emphasised that governments should be wary of becoming involved in private business investments and, when doing so, must carefully manage risks in order to avoid losses: overall, the Commission concludes that risks were well managed in the case of the Exchangeable Bond Transaction but were not in the case of the disastrous UBS Loan.

1.11   Among the most valuable and internationally marketable resource located in this country is liquefied natural gas (LNG). Perhaps the most significant current resources project for many years is the PNG LNG Project. Since its first LNG export in 2014, the PNG LNG Project has exported approximately 7 million tonnes of LNG per year. It is a vast and complex project which has been necessarily undertaken with the involvement of multinational companies and overseas finance. To illustrate the scale of the PNG LNG Project: on 8 December 2009 the Final Investment Decision for the PNG LNG Project was made, and this immediately resulted in the commencement of comprehensive construction activities in the construction and commissioning period from 2010 to 2014 costing more than USD 19 billion (approximately PGK 67 billion))

1.12   There are direct economic benefits to the country from such projects, especially employment and investment in infrastructure. And, like anyone else, the State can become a shareholder in the companies holding the licences or undertaking the work, receiving such dividends as those companies may choose to declare. But the State also has uniquely valuable 'back-in' rights under ss. 184 and 185 of the Oil and Gas Act which allowed it to pay to become an equity participant in the PNG LNG Project.

1.13   In 2009 the State decided to exercise those back-in rights, acquiring 19.4%. In return for acquiring 'back-in' rights then worth between USD 3-5 billion (approximately PGK 10.6-17.7 billion), the State needed to pay USD 300 million (approximately PGK 1.06 billion) upfront, and then USD 1 billion (approximately PGK 3.5 billion) between 2009 and 2014 in order to share in the future profits of the PNG LNG Project. The State did not have those funds, so it needed to raise them. At the time, it was the largest fundraising that the State had ever attempted. This significant need for finance directly led to the Exchangeable Bond Transaction.

1.14   In 2014. Oil Search was Papua New Guinea's largest company and an important partner with the State in many projects. The State had first acquired 196 million shares in Oil Search when it had merged in 2002 with Orogen Minerals, a company in which the State then held a bare majority of the shares. The merger gave Oil Search access to cash it did not otherwise have. The Oil Search shares the State then acquired gave the State between 17.65% (in 2004) and 13.17% (by 2013) of the issued share capital of Oil Search. Although Oil Search usually paid modest dividends, the shares tended to appreciate in value.

1.15   The Global Financial Crisis which began in 2007 was still being felt in Papua New Guinea in 2008/9 and it greatly affected the State's capacity to raise funds. At this time the late Sir Michael Somare was Prime Minister and Mr Peter O'Neill was in the NEC (Cabinet). The State decided to use a significant asset, namely its ownership, through IPBC, of the 196 million Oil Search shares to raise the funds needed for it to participate in the PNG LNG Project. The State (through IPBC) decided to raise AUD 1.681 billion (approximately PGK 4.46 billion) by issuing 5-year Exchangeable Bonds to IPIC, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. Under that transaction, IPIC would receive 5% per annum interest for the duration of the Exchangeable Bonds. On maturity, the Exchangeable Bonds would be exchanged for the shares that IPBC held in Oil Search. The reference price for the exchange was AUD 8.55 per share. If (as was the case in 2014) the share price was below the reference price, IPBC would have to make a top-up payment to IPIC. If the share price was greater, IPIC would only receive shares up to the value of the bonds.

1.16   The Report closely considers the Exchangeable Bond Transaction: its terms and rationale, the processes leading to its adoption and the work done by advisers. The Commission, assisted by detailed expert reports from The Brettle Group, concludes that the lack of controversy historically attaching to the Exchangeable Bond Transaction is justified. While it involved some risks (which largely turned out not to be realised), it served a valuable purpose for the State by enabling it to acquire at an attractive price the back-in rights and share in the profits of the largest resource project in the country. Further (and in contrast with the UBS Loan) it:

         (a) was on the whole the best available option

         (b) was quite carefully and methodically examined by Government and its advisers before the 

             NEC decided to proceed with it

         (c) was fairly priced

         (d) achieved its stated purpose

1.17   From 2011-2019 the Prime Minister was Mr O'Neill. The Exchangeable Bonds were to mature in March 2014 and, unless IPIC otherwise agreed, the result would be that:

        (a) IPBC had used the funds borrowed to share in the future profits of the PNG LNG project, 

             for the ultimate benefit of the State and the people

         (b) IPIC would take ownership of the Oil Search shares, through the exchange provisions of 

             the Exchangeable Bonds, leaving IPBC and the State with no Oil Search shares

         (c) IPBC would, according to a formula based on the market value of the shares, most likely 

             make a relatively modest payment to IPIC thereby bringing the Exchangeable Bond 

             Transaction to an end (the amount actually paid was about AUD 74 million (approximately 

             PGK 196 million), and, critically

         (d) IPBC would not have any further monies to pay, and the significant amounts they were 

             due to receive as early as 2014 from the PNG LNG Project could be put into the legislated

            but not yet operational Sovereign Wealth Fund for the benefit of the country and its 


1.18   The first three matters came to pass. The fourth - the road not taken - did not, fundamentally because of the decision by Mr O'Neill, principally aided by then Secretary for the Department of Treasury, Mr Dairi Vele, to persuade the NEC to enter into the disastrous UBS Loan arrangement.

1.19   These matters are at the core of the Commission's work. As its establishing Instrument stated:

The ultimate objective of the Commission of Inquiry is to establish whether there were breaches of Papua New Guinea laws and Constitutional requirements in the process of negotiation and approval of the UBS Loan, and also establish whether Papua New Guinea as a country had suffered as a result of this off-shore deal, and whether the persons involved in the deal can be held accountable for their conduct.

1.20   The period between mid-2013 and the entering into the UBS Loan in March 2014 can be seen as a series of stages, at each one of which serious errors were made.

1.21   The first stage covered the unsuccessful attempts by the State or State entities to persuade IPICto give up its contractual rights to retain the Oil Search shares which were the subject of the Exchangeable Bonds. While there were some limited signs that IPIC was prepared to do so, in the end it relied upon its rights to keep the shares. Although it was always clear the Exchangeable Bonds gave those rights to IPIC, and Mr O'Neill was in the Somare Cabinet which approved the Exchangeable Bond Transaction, in his evidence before the Commission he unhelpfully persisted with the notion that Papua New Guinea was well positioned to persuade IPIC to give up its rights. It never was. The NEC, the IPIC Exchangeable Bond Review Committee it established, IPBC and the Department of Public Enterprises and State Investments had their time wasted on what was likely to be a futile exercise.

1.22   The second stage was the growing realisation that the Oil Search shares formerly held were going to be lost and that, if even an approximately equivalent quantity was again to be held by the State, they would need to be newly acquired. From later in 2013 it became clear to Mr Vele, who was leading the State's search for a financial adviser in relation to refinancing the Exchangeable Bonds that an opportunity might exist to persuade Oil Search to issue new shares in itself to the State because Oil Search was seeking a significant amount of finance to buy into a valuable gas resource known as Elk-Antelope or PRL 15, and Oil Search might find it attractive to raise funds in a single transaction with the State.

1.23   The third stage was the formal but unsurprising advice from IPIC that it was keeping the Oil Search shares, which led to a series of urgent meetings between Oil Search executives, Prime Minister O'Neill and Mr Vele, which in turn led to the agreement with Oil Search. This created a need for the State to urgently obtain finance, although the urgency was because of Oil Search's timetable.

1.24   The fourth stage was a hurried and inadequate process over a period of 15 days whereby the State's financial adviser and arranger, UBS, and many lawyers, including from NRFA and PLG, put together a complex series of documents and largely drafted the NEC paperwork. Mr O'Neill and Mr Vele drove the process to the exclusion of others with key interests. Remarkably, even the Treasurer was excluded from drafting or commenting on a vital submission which recommended very large expenditure on behalf of the State. Nonetheless the UBS Loan was approved by the NEC and documentation executed.

1.25   The final stage of the UBS Loan was that, to avoid breaching the State's debt ratios, the Collar Loan (one of two parts of the UBS Loan) was novated to the SoE eventually known as Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL). In view of the controversy which resulted when the UBS Loan was announced, parliamentary disapproval of the UBS Loan could well have occurred. Importantly, KPHL never wanted either the Oil Search shares or the significant financing debts that came with the UBS Loan. But from 2015 the choice was not theirs alone, as the KPHL Trustee was the Prime Minister of the day and approval of the NEC was needed for many of its decisions. So the KPHL Board extended the loan in 2016 and, with its Trustee Mr O'Neill's permission, sold the shares at a significant loss in 2017. The Managing Director of KPHL, Mr Wapu Sank, with some justification, felt the Trustee's permission was deferred for purely political reasons which, if established, would be a clear breach of duty by a trustee.

1.26   In the end, the State's entirely unnecessary UBS Loan to buy Oil Search shares resulted in:

           (a) the loss of those same shares

           (b) significant financial losses to the State of in excess of AUD 340 million (approximately 

               PGK 902 million)

           (c) lost opportunities, including to establish the Sovereign Wealth Fund as intended and

               endow it properly

           (d) diversion of the significant revenues expected from the PNG LNG Project once the 

               exports of LNG began in 2014

1.27   As the Report concludes in relation to the UBS Loan:

            (a) Unlike the Exchangeable Bond Transaction which was justified by the purchase of 

                significant and financially beneficial rights in the PNG LNG Project, the UBS Loan had no 

                satisfactory justification or rationale_ It made no economic sense for the State to pay large 

               sums to multiple advisers as well as high interest payments on a loan to purchase shares 

               in a publicly listed company. If the State wanted to be involved in further oil and gas 

               exploration projects, waiting instead for the back-in rights to PRL 15 was a more prudent 

               course. The Commission rejects Mr O'Neill's stated 'strategic interest' justification for 

               obtaining new Oil Search shares in 2014. On analysis, it amounts, at its highest, to no 

               more than the habit of such ownership over the preceding dozen years, and access to 

               modest dividends in common with any other shareholder. If there were other reasons 

               they have not been revealed to the Commission. The State had powers to block 

               takeovers on national interest grounds if that became a concern. Further, any interest in 

               share ownership was short lived: the UBS Loan was swiftly novated to KPHL, which never 

               wanted the UBS Loan obligations and wished to sell the shares at the earliest opportunity

          (b)  The failure to follow proper processes, coupled with the speed with which complex 

               documentation was produced had the disastrous consequence that no-one within the 

               public service — including the Secretary for Treasury. Mr Vele — understood the 

               overcharging of the State by UBS, and the risks inherent in the UBS Loans, and no 

               adviser retained by or on behalf of the State identified these matters, either in themselves 

               or as risks to be further investigated

          (c)  In addition to its sizeable disclosed fee of AUD 28.4 million (approximately PGK 75.4 

               million), UBS also benefited from the refinancing of the Collar Loan in December 2014 

               and February 2016 as well as from the ultimate sale of the shares in September 2017. Its 

               total over-charging amounts to AUD 175 million (approximately PGK 464 million), which 

               should be repaid, with interest. The Commission considers UBS' failure to provide

              witnesses deeply disappointing, as is its final submission which suggested as 

              inappropriate Brattle's use of the widely recognised Black-Scholes financial model but 

              without stating what is appropriate or what model it used to price the UBS Loan in 2014. 

              The Commission considers its assertion to be a defensive strategy not a serious 

              submission. It is not accepted

           (d) The State's lawyers, including NRFA, failed to advise the State of UBS' at least potential 

            conflicts of interest and how to manage them. Like UBS, NRFA declined to provide 

            witnesses to the Commission. NRFA did not provide any submissions, and their delayed 

           and incomplete production of documents, owned not by them but by their former clients, 

           was inexcusable

         (e) Mr Vele was responsible for the settling of the NEC policy submission recommending the 

            UBS Loan. The submission's inadequacies included its failure to set out any downside to 

            the proposal and the false statement that the Treasurer agreed with the submission's 

            contents when, to Mr Vele's knowledge, he had never seen it prior to the eve of the NEC 

            meeting, and according to Mr Vele himself, then indicated his disagreement with the 

            submission by refusing to sign it

        (f) Mr O'Neill knew the submission was lengthy and complex and needed to be explained to 

            the NEC and yet he provided the NEC with no advance notice of it nor any real 

            opportunity to debate it during a meeting that lasted less than an hour, notwithstanding the 

            Treasurer's outburst against the proposal in the NEC (he being later sacked from that 

            role). The NEC is a valuable democratic method of analysing and discussing difficult 

            matters but Mr O'Neill ensured it could not operate effectively in relation to the UBS Loan. 

            Proper processes in the NEC and Government generally, like keeping adequate records, 

            may appear unimportant or uninteresting, but what happened in relation to the UBS Loan 

            demonstrates why such matters (like the NEC, parliamentary scrutiny and anti-corruption 

            measures) are vital in a democracy. Their absence can cost a nation dearly, as was the 

            case with the UBS Loan

1.28   In answer to the question 'Who was responsible and what remedies should be sought against them'; detailed findings are set out elsewhere in the Report, but fundamentally:

    (a) Mr O'Neill should be prosecuted for giving false evidence to the Commission and referred 

        to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)

    (b) Mr O'Neill is centrally responsible for the UBS Loan, Mr Vele was indispensable in 

        assisting him in that endeavour. Each should be referred to the Leadership Tribunal

    (c) UBS is solely responsible for overcharging and any misleading or deceptive conduct. 

        They should be asked to repay the amounts overcharged and both Papua New Guinea 

        and Australian authorities should consider whether civil or criminal sanctions should be 

        sought. UBS should be banned from doing work for the State and any SoEs for 10 years

    (d) NRFA's obstruction of the Commission should be the subject of disciplinary investigation 

        in Australia. Their failure to give proper advice to the State should be further examined 

        and the firm should be banned from doing work for the State and any SoEs for five years

    (e) The following current or former UBS or NRFA personnel should be banned from doing 

        work for the State and any SoEs, in their own capacity or as employed by an entity for five 


            (i) Patrick 'Paddy' Jilek

            (ii)  Mitchell Turner

            (iii) Anthony Latimer

            (iv)  Steven Moe

            (v)   Vittorio Casamento

1.29   The Commission makes a number of recommendations to ensure the UBS Loan is not repeated. It also recommends the long promised establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund be delayed no longer. Its establishment and endowment is not only vital for the welfare of the State and its people but will be important evidence for foreign investors, along with the new ICAC and the ongoing role of the Ombudsman Commission, that sovereign risk from corruption and failure to follow mandated government processes is now being properly addressed. .

1.30   During the course of its work, the Commission received information about matters of concern which it pursued as far as its powers allowed. The Commission proposes to provide that information to appropriate authorities with greater investigative powers for them to consider and pursue if they think fit.

1.31   The Commission's work is now done. It is a matter for the Government, the Parliament and ultimately the people to decide whether to act on the Report's findings and its nation-building recommendations.


All references in this document to the PGK equivalent are approximate, using the exchange rate as at 28 March 2022. Exchange Rates UK website, accessed on 28 March 2022 httus://www.exch_ancierates.ora_ukicurrencviexchanae-rate-calculator.html.

You can read both Part A and Part B Executive Summary on Act Now website.


Coronavirus COVID-19: PNG PMs Address to the Nation on Preparedness and Response Plan


My fellow Papua New Guineans:

The world is currently facing a common enemy – the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.

As of today, there are more than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 and almost 5,000 deaths reported globally. There are 122 countries, territories and areas that have reported cases. It has also come to our Pacific neighbour of French Polynesia.

Papua New Guinea, as I speak to you today, has no case of COVID-19. However, we have to continue to be on high alert as the risk of COVID-19 entering Papua New Guinea, just like the rest of our region and the world, is very high.

The PNG Government, since January, has recognized this threat to our country and we have started our preparedness measures.

We have a team of dedicated health experts and professionals who are working round-the-clock to ensure we have measures in place to prevent, detect, manage and treat any case of COVID-19.

We have developed a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan that outlines key measures from across different scenarios: from the alert phase to containment and mitigation.

It has detailed actions and requirements identified in every phase and the budget for those activities has already been approved by NEC on Wednesday this week.

These codes are the following:

Code Scenario
  • ALERT (green) No case of COVID-19 in PNG (Cases are reported outside of Papua New Guinea)
  • CONTAINMENT (orange) Confirmed case of COVID-19 in PNG (At least one case confirmed in PNG)
  • MITIGATION (red) Community spread of COVID-19 (Human-to-human transmission in clusters within the community)
❑ We continue to put in measures to prevent the entry of the virus into the country. We have personnel at our points of entry who are screening inbound passengers. Our surveillance team conducts follow-up checks for those travellers.

❑ However, even with these measures, it would be wrong to assume that we will not get the virus. We continue to prepare for the worst-case scenario and make our system ready to response.
Some of the additional measures we are taking are;

● Prevent all passengers travelling from the following countries from entering PNG until they have completed a 14-day quarantine outside the country – these countries include;
  • Italy, 
  • Iran, 
  • South Korea,
  • Japan and 
  • Mainland China.
● Place a 60-day ban on all public servants from official overseas travel.
● Ban on Cruise Ships and yachts used for leisure with more than 15 people on board.
● Setting up quarantine facilities initially in Port Moresby and Lae and eventually in Rabaul and Mount Hagen as part of our contingency plan preparations.
● Ban on boarder travel until further notice.
● For the next 90 days requiring quarantine, clearance must be cleared only at the declared ports of Motukea, Lae and Rabaul. Severe penalties will be imposed on overseas sailing directly to any unauthorized ports.
● Under our surveillance system, we are keeping data and monitoring the movement of people coming in and out of the country and particularly where they are in PNG using the supplementary health declaration forms.
● Any persons of interest showing signs and symptoms are further interviewed and self-quarantined.
● As of 13th March, we have tested 16 persons of interest in our IMR WHO Accredited Laboratory in Goroka and all have returned negative results for COVID – 19.
● PNG IMR is also preparing to conduct COVID – 19 testings in Port Moresby and Madang within two weeks.
● We will review and update our measures regularly, based on the risk assessment.

I would like to thank the Department of Health, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Immigration and Citizenship Authority, National Airports Cooperation, Air Niugini and the World Health Organization and other development partners for all your efforts so far.

While your efforts have been commendable, I urge all involved in our response including government agencies, development partners and the general public to remain vigilant as we deal with the threat of this terrible contagious illness.

I recommend that you continue to read verifiable information and inform yourselves correctly. A hotline (7196 0813) has also been established to address the immediate need for information or reporting and to answer questions people may have.

As the Government continues to put in place measures, the PNG people have the role to play. There are very simple things you can do and I want to remind you of these measures:
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • If you cough or sneeze—do it into your flexed elbow or use a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately into a closed rubbish bin, and then wash your hands.
  • Clean your house, offices or stores. Disinfect surfaces, tables or work desks.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home and avoid crowded places. Do not spread the disease to others.
The health teams continue to conduct a risk assessment. Any further updates will be released regularly to ensure that citizens are kept abreast of the status of coronavirus globally and in PNG.

Honourable James Marape, MP
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
PRESS RELEASE 13th March, 2020

Prime Minister James Marape and Cabinet

Prime Minister James Marape Government's 33 cabinet ministers.

Image: Facebook/Sunday Bulletin 
1. James Marape - Prime Minister

2. Davis Steven - Deputy Prime Minister and Justice and Attorney General

3. Joseph Yopyyopy - Education

4. Lekwa Gure - Civil Aviation

5. Wera Mori - Commerce and Industry

6. Renbo Paita - Communication and Energy

7. Wake Goi - Community Development, Youth and Religion

8. Chris Nangoi - Correctional Services

9. Saki Soloma - Defence

10. Soroi Eoe - Foreign Affairs and Trade

11. Jeffery Kama - Environment, Conservation and Climate Change

12. Dr Lino Tom - Fisheries and Marine Resources

13. Sir Puka Temu - Bougainville Affairs

14. Elias Kapavore - Health and HIV/AIDS

15. Nick Kuman - Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology

16. Justin Tkatchenko - Housing and Urban Development

17. Petrus Thomas - Immigration and Border Security

18. Pila Niningi - Inter-Goverment Relations

19. Alfred Manase - Labour and Industrial Relations

20. John Simon - Agriculture and Livestock

21. John Rosso - Lands and Physical Planning

22. Kerenga Kua - Petroleum

23. Bryan Kramer - Police

24. Sasindran Muthuvel - State Enterprises

25. Westly Nukundj - Public Service

26. Emil Tammur - Tourism, Arts and Culture

27. William Samb - Transport and Infrastructure

28. Michael Nali - Works and Implementation

29. Solan Mirisim - Forest

30. Sam Basil - Treasury

31. Richard Maru - National Planning and Monitoring

32. Charles Abel - Finance and Rural Development

33. Johnson Tuke - Mining

Forced Resignation of Peter O'Neill and New Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 2019 James Marape - EVENTS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

Here is a compilation of the events dating back to Hon James Marape's resignation as the Finance Minister. This compilation of events will go down in the history of Papua New Guinea like the 1997 Sandline Crises when Sir Julius Chan was forced to vacate the Prime Minister's seat. This time is Peter O'Neill who was forced to resign after 7.5 years. 

Check out the analysis on the latest on VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE HERE 

History tells us that the PNC-led coalition snatched power from the NA led government when Sir M. Somare was hospitalised in Singapore and left the country under a cabinet that was called the 'Kitchen Cabinet'.

This time, the main dividing factor was misguided loyalty to Peter O'Neill and lack of trust in his leadership which saw disintegration within that Peoples' National Congress party. 

The events leading up to Peter Oneill's resignation are in reverse chronological order. As you read, bear in mind that there were twists and turns. But, all led to a forced resignation.

I'll park the events in order here so that in 30-odd years time, the children can read it and understand how these elected representatives - so called the leaders - behaved when it comes to changing the Prime Minister of the country.

PNG Prime Minister


30th May 2019

PNG has a new Prime Minister Hon James Marape Member for Tari-Pori
Vote count result 

Hon James Marape - 101

Sir Mekere Morata - 8

Wednesday 29th May 2019

“The Prime Minister has resigned so what it means is that there is now a vacancy in the office of the Prime Minister....this now means the Vote of No Confidence motion is no longer viable.” Political analyst and researcher Dr Joseph Ketan

With a vacancy available after the resignation of Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister, intense lobbying is underway before Wed at 10.00 am.

The Members of the People's Progress Party, People's National Congress Party and Pangu Party met at Crowne Hotel.

Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill has announced that he delivered his letter of resignation at 9.45am to the Governor General, Sir Bob Dadae.

Minutes earlier, the Speaker also told the house,  as the first order of business, that the Opposition had also filed a motion for a vote of no confidence.  

Mr O’Neill in welcoming the motion said it was an honour to serve as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

“We have had some profound achievements. We have delivered significant developments, particularly in the most remote areas through our DSIP and PSIP.

“We have constructed many teachers colleges and nursing colleges. These are some of the  things that we are very proud of.”

But the announcement was not satisfactory for  Madang MP, Bryan Kramer, who raised a point of order and asked for proof that Peter O’Neill had indeed resigned.  

“While I acknowledge the announcement by the Prime  Minister, there is a process in place and the process says that the Prime Minister will deliver his resignation to the Governor General and the Governor General will inform you.  I have not heard that from you,” Kramer said to the Speaker. 

“I want to know if the Governor General has confirmed the resignation.”

The Speaker then produced an acknowledgement letter from the Governor General’s Office.

“I want to let the house know that I have a letter from the Governor General.  I received it at 10.45am.  I want to tell this honourable house and the people of Papua New Guinea that the position of the Prime Minister is vacant. 

Tuesday 28th May 2019

Parliament Speaker, Job Pomat refuses to entertain Opposition motion, to remove him as Speaker.

⏳Opposition Leader and Aitape- Lumi MP, Patrick Pruaitch has been nominated as a candidate for the alternative Prime Minister ahead of Tari-Pori MP, after a secret ballot.

The results:
Patrick Pruaitch - 37 Votes
James Marape -  28 Votes

This comes ahead of this afternoon's Parliament Sitting.

An urgent Supreme Court application filed by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill seeking legal clarification on the process in relation to the proposed Motion on the Vote of No Confidence has been adjourned to this Friday. 

A three-man bench is of the view that the application was not urgent when it was listed for hearing this morning.

⏳Former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet speaks about the legality of the Supreme Court Application filed by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill describing it as 'abuse of process'.

Sir A. AMET “The suggestion that  Prime Minister can appoint a  caretaker PM or acting PM is wrong and unconstitutional.

Monday 27th May 2019

⏳Opposition yet to choose the Alternate Prime Minister.

⏰Sir Julius Chan has stated that he is not acting Prime Minister, although honoured to be considered as the Governments alternative when the resignation of the PM takes place.

“The existing Prime Minister has no power to nominate a new Prime Minister of his choice, Peter O’Neill simply designated me the provisional caretaker of the Government Coalition”

Sunday 26th May 2019

⏰ A planned conference by Sir Julius Chan at 11am this morning at the Ela Beach Hotel in Port Moresby has been moved to the Crowne Hotel where the Prime Minister's PNC led coalition is camped.

Peter O'Neill steps down as Prime Minister. Sir Julius takes over.

Peter O'Neill:  "I will be stepping down as Prime Minister.  Over the next few days and I will be visiting the Governor General. I want to say that it has not been easy."
#VONC #Handover #Oneill

⏳All three Oro MPs in Opposition after Masere joins Laguna camp, official headcount at 63.

⏳ Ijivitari MP, Richard Masere, was welcomed by James Marape. Masere said he made the decision to move on his own will because of continuous calls his people made in the last three weeks.

  Environment and Conservation Minister, John Pundari has joined the Opposition. 

Saturday 25th May 2019

Three days before the Vote of No Confidence the PM  Peter O'Neill PNC led government has 49 members. The Alternate Government claimed to have 62 MPs.

It is not clear who the new choice for Prime Minister from the Alternate  Government, yet.

Surely the number and momentum are on the Opposition/Alternate Government side.

Friday 24th May 2010

⏳The biggest partner in the O'Neill-Abel Government has moved to the Opposition.
William Duma and his United Resources Party made the announcement this afternoon after arriving at the Laguna.

⏳Mori move to alternative government

Commerce and Trade Minister,  Wera Mori, has announced his move to Opposition in the latest defection before Parliament sits on Tuesday. Wera Mori is the latest cabinet minister to leave the PNC-led coalition citing his dissatisfaction and lack of confidence in Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Thursday 23rd May 2019

⏳Pangu Pati members showing support for the Alternate government

Former leaders of PANGU Pati have urged current parliamentary members to stand united in their efforts to change the country’s top political leadership. 

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and Sir Rabbie Namaliu made this call when meeting with current PANGU Pati members in Port Moresby today.

⏰Minister for Fisheries and Kabwum MP, Patrick Basa, says he will remain loyal to the current O’Neill- Abel Government.

This is in response to comments made by people from his district, saying the Member needs to make his stance clear.

Tuesday 21st May 2019

Kabwum MP, Patrick Basa, is being urged to return to the district to explain his stance in the upcoming Vote of No Confidence. They say, the people deserve an explanation on what their elected representative will opt to do, come the VONC. His people feel overlooked in spite of the current political climate surrounding the Vote of No Confidence.

Monday 20th May 2019

⏳Opposition withdraws VONC motion and Marape steps down as Opposition's PM nominee.

The Opposition has withdrawn the vote of no confidence motion and in the same news conference,  Tari-Pori MP, James Marape,  stepped down as the alternative  Prime Minister candidate for the opposition.

The Opposition  Leader, Patrick Pruaitch, says the decision was reached after a consensus was reached between all factions of the  Laguna camp.

“In so far as the vote of no confidence is concerned, we have decided,   and I as the mover of the motion, have written to the clerk to withdraw the motion with the concurrence of our prime ministerial nominee, James Marape,”  Patrick Pruaitch said.

James Marape also released a separate statement saying his decision to step down was made in consultation with other members of the group.

Sunday 19th May 2019

⏰In a move that has been strongly criticised, PNG’s Attorney General applied for a stay order to stop the looming vote of no confidence motion in Parliament.

The Government says this is because they want to uphold the rule of law and the doctrine of the separation of powers.

On the political front, the interpretation of the move is many from the opposition - its a ploy to delay the vote. From the Government - they're simply upholding the rule of law.

Tonight we take a closer look at the legal intricacies and look at how all this might play out on the 28th when parliament resumes.

Friday 17th May 2019

⏰Attorney General, Alfred Manase, has instructed government lawyers to apply for a stay order on the vote of no confidence motion until all matters relating to the doctrine of the separation of powers are dealt with by the Supreme Court. 

The Attorney General stated that the urgent application is not to stop the vote of no confidence but to ensure the rule of law is respected and observed at all time.

“I want to announce to you and the people of Papua New Guinea that yesterday I filled an urgent application in the Supreme Court seeking an order from the court to stay the Parliament from entertaining the Notice of Motion of no confidence until the Supreme Court makes a final determination of a Supreme Court reference my predecessor, Davis Steve, file in the Supreme Court on 3rd of December 2018 (SCR 5 OF 2018)

⏰The Melanesian Alliance Party headed by Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Sam Basil, opened their official office today.

The new Melanesian Alliance office was formally used by PANGU Party in the past.

Basil and members of MA were present at today’s opening.

⏰Rigo MP, Lekwa Gure, has officially taken on the responsibilities of the Civil Aviation Ministry from Alfred Manase.

At a formal hand-over-take-over meeting at the Civil Aviation Authority Headquarter in Port Moresby, heads of various regulators and entities provided updates to Minister Gure.

The new Minister is not new to the industry, having been an experienced airline pilot for over 30 years prior to entering politics.

He says his focus will be on strengthening the industry and enforcement to make the industry safer for the travelling public.

Thursday 16th May 2019

⏰New Attorney General, Alfred Manase has directed Government lawyers to apply for a  Stay Order on the Vote Of No- Confidence Motion by Parliament.

⏰ Forestry Minister and Member for Kiriwina-Goodenough, Douglas Tomuriesa, held a reconciliation ceremony to apologize for briefly siding with Opposition and renouncing his distrust in O'Neill let government.

⏳Member for Tari-Pori, James Marape is urging the Ombudsman Commission to table UBS Loan Report in Parliament, amidst speculation by the public.

Wednesday 15th May 2019
In anticipation to avoid the government playing delay tactic or avoid sitting on the 28th of May 2019, Rabaul MP Dr Alan Marat cautioned the Speaker.

⏳The Rabaul MP, Dr Allan Marat, has cautioned the Speaker of Parliament,  Job Pomat to remain independent and not adjourn Parliament prematurely when the house resumes on the 28th of May.

Dr Marat’s comments come after a media conference by the Parliamentary Clerk’s office in which it was stated the vote of no confidence will not happen this month if parliament doesn’t sit for a full week.

Tuesday 14th May 2019

⏰Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill says, his coalition still has the numbers heading into the next Parliament sitting on the 28th of May 2019.

He made these remarks at Government House during the announcement of new members joining his cabinet.

⏳Sir Puka Temu, former Health Minister and Member For Abau, resigned from the People's National Congress Party and has returned to the "Our Development Party." He feels the people of the Central Province should have benefited more under the Government.

Monday 13th May 2019

⏰Major reshuffling of PNC government ministerial portfolios.

  • Yangoru-Sausia MP, Richard Maru is now the Minister for  Finance and  Rural Development. 
  • Sam Basil, has been moved from the Finance Ministry to National Planning.
  • Elias Kapavore has been moved from Public Service to the  Health Department to fill in the vacancy left by Abau’s Sir Puka Temu.
  • Replacing Kapavore is Dei MP
  • Wesley Nukunj who has been given charge of the Public Service Ministry.  
  • Sumkar MP, Chris Nangoi, is now Transport Minister
  • Kundiawa-Gembogl MP,  William Onglo has been given the Defence Ministry. 
  • Former Air Niugini Pilot, Rigo MP, Lekwa Gure, is now the Civil Aviation Minister.
  • Lagaip-Pogera MP, Tomait Kapili, has been appointed Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Bougainville Affairs. 

Friday 10th May 2019

⏳James Marape and other members of parliament who defected from the People’s National Congress have accepted an invitation to join Pangu Pati. One week ago, Pangu was effective without a Party without a Parliamentary wing after 15 MPs resigned.

Thursday 9th May 2019

⏰Chaos in Pangu Pati as members split up. Morobe governor new Pangu Pati leader. Sam Basil joined Melanesian Alliance and remained with PNC government.

Tuesday 7th of May 2019

Parliament met for 2 hours. The tabling of Motion of Vote of No Confidence in PNC Gov't leadership.

⏰PM Peter O'Neill said after the Motion of VoNC “The government is well and truly solid, intact and we are ready to work.  As you can see with the partners led by all our coalition leaders, Sir Julius, Peter Yama,  Minister Duma, Minister   Basil and former Prime Minister Paias Wingti. We have shown courage to support a government that is working for the people of this country.

⏳The Opposition’s nominee for Prime Minister,  Tari-Pori MP, James Marape, was also furious at the manner in which the speaker ruled against an early resumption of Parliament.
James Marape also told the media that the government removed opposition MPs who were on a  Parliamentary Private Members committee that decides on the validity of votes of no confidence motions.

Parliament extended for 1 week and resumed on the 14th May for the actual VoNC to take place. Later, the parliament privilege committee extended the voting session for 21 days - VoNC session to take place on the 28th May 2019 (THIS DID NOT HAPPEN)

Monday 6th May 2019

- Laguna Camp named Hon. James Marape as Alternative PM.

- Nine former Pangu Pati members, led by Bulolo MP, Sam Basil have joined the Melanesian Alliance Party.

- Hon. Douglas Tomuriesa Member for Kiriwina Goodenough returns to Crown after spending time at Laguna.

- East New Britain Governor Nakikus Konga rejoins his party in the PNC led coalition despite turning up at Laguna camp this morning.

- Enga Governor, Peter Ipatas, joins Laguna camp.

- Parliament Speaker Hon. Job Pomat just arrived in Crown Plaza camp.

Sunday 5th May 2019

- All 5 Sandaun Province MPs including the Governor, Tony Wouwou, are now at the Laguna camp. They are Belden Namah (Vanimo-Green), Joe Sungi (Nuku), Patrick Pruaitch (Aitape-Lumi) Solan Mirisim (Telefomin).

Saturday 4th May 2019

- Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel in the company of a lone Milne Bay governor (and after 5 hours delay) announced his continued support for Peter O’Neill.

- Laguna camp announced 57 MPs in camp and planned to review all agreements concluded recently by the O'Neill-Abel Government.

Friday, 3rd May 2019

- Douglas Tomuriesa, Member for Kiriwina-Goodenough, urges more Papuan MPs to join their cause.

- Member for Telefomin, Solan Mirisim, pushing for young leaders to make a stand.

- Dr Puka Temu, Member for Abau Open, joins the growing list of MPs dissatisfied with the Prime Minister. 

Sir Puka Temu said they have made a decision to move because of internal disagreements over how the country is being managed.

- All 15 Pangu MPs have resigned. 7 MPs have joined the 'Laguna' camp which now claims to have 51 members in total. It is unclear, what the Basil led faction is planning to do at this stage. 

Thursday 2nd May 2019

- The People's National Congress says the party has resolved "to back" Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister in the coming vote of no confidence. The party posted photos on its Facebook page claiming 38 members are intact. The caucus meeting initially planned for 6 May was moved to 1 May to counter moves by the opposition and defecting MPs. 
More updates to come. 

Monday 29th April 2019

- Tari Pori MP, James Marape, has announced that he is officially leaving the People’s National Congress citing lack of confidence in PNC party leader and PM O'Neill.

- Manus Governor, Charlie Benjamin and Okapa MP, Saki Soloma have also announced their formal exit from The People's National Congress Party.

Sunday 28th April 2019

- Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, has arrived back in the country from China

Friday 26th April 2019

- Governors Sir Peter Ipatas (ENGA), William Powi (SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS) and Phillip Undialu (HELA) resign from PNC

Friday 11th April 2019

Hon James Marape decided to resign as the Finance Minister. 



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