Prime Minister James Marape has refuted claims in the Post-Courier today that insinuated the Government demanded U$100 million “success fee” for the P’nyang gas project in the Western Province to go ahead.
The newspaper, quoting unnamed “private sector sources” , said this would be one of the terms and conditions put on the table when the State Negotiation Team (SNT) headed by Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari met with developer ExxonMobil this week.
An upset Prime Minister Marape said the Post-Courier Managing-Director and Editor-In-Chief would be summoned to explain the reporting.
“Our Government’s plan on P’nyang remains classified,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“Exchanges are going on between stakeholders on our Government’s position, however, Post Courier’s haste to release misleading information is a cause for concern… Post-Courier is a long time corporate resident of our country and we expect corporate responsibility and highest standards of journalism accountability.”
He further stated “However, a reckless brush of pen, insinuating personal ‘success fee’, requires Government to summon Post-Courier Managing-Director and Editor-In-Chief to explain their reporting…Papua New Guinea’s international reputation continues to suffer when slanderous attacks like these are made without facts.”
Marape saying he has now instructed State lawyers to look at law to hold media, including social media, accountable for misreporting.
Prime Minister Marape assured the country that “no individual involved in present resource agreements under the Marape-Steven Government will request personal favor or ‘success fees’ for work we are all paid to do”.
“Post-Courier or anyone out there who knows of public officials demanding fees should reported to authorities like Police or Ombudsman,” he said.
At present the Prime Minister says protocols have been established for P’nyang gas resource and other resource projects coming up for review and negotiations.
“Protocols have been established where the legal State Negotiation Team is in active engagements to ensure this project is processed consistent with legal requirements of our country.”
Adding also that “Gone are the days when industry ran straight to prime ministers or ministers.”
“I am tidying the way we have been doing project negotiations to allow our officials to vet, filter and funnel all projects on their own merits to Petroleum Minister and National Executive Council on their own qualifying merits, rather then PM’s or ministers’ influence.