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Criminal charges to be laid in relation to UBS loan – Manning issues warning against stirring public unrest


Thursday September 07, 2023

The Commissioner of Police, David Manning, has advised that the RPNGC is preparing to obtain warrants for the arrest of a number of individuals in relation to the State loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland in 2014.

The charges intended to be laid have come about following exhaustive investigations and the analysis of evidence from Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Australia over almost 18 months.

The Commissioner said he is foreshadowing this significant operational activity in the interests of public safety and awareness in the event that some of those charged seek to cause social disorder.

“It is fair to say that those likely to be charged are expecting police will be in contact, and they are warned that if they seek to cause public unrest, this will result in additional charges,” the Commissioner said.

“It is important that the public is aware that when these warrants are executed that there is the potential for disturbance so they must be prepared and act responsibly.

“I state very clearly that any illegal or unruly behaviour by supporter groups will be met with a swift and unwavering police response.

“Justice must take its course, and the individuals charged will have the opportunity to defend themselves in court as part of due process.”

Commissioner Manning said the laying of charges is the consequence of the investigation and analysis finalised under the Proceeds of Crime Task Force that was stood up by the RPNGC.

“The matters relating to the UBS loan in 2014 are complex and involve multiple sovereign jurisdictions, with investigations taking place following the handing down of the COI Final Report in March 2022.

“Charges that are about to be laid are not under the Commission of Inquiry Act, but are covered by the Criminal Code Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act.

“These offences that police will allege that the accused have committed are not faceless crimes, but extremely serious and deprived PNG citizens of substantial amounts of public money.

“The alleged offences amount to a massive breach of public trust and abuse of government office and appointment.

“The bottom line is that no one is above or beyond the reach of the law.  Police will fearlessly execute their constitutional duties in the service of our country.

“The police personnel working in the Proceeds of Crime Task Force include members of the Fraud Squad, forensic auditors and other specialist experts.

The ‘Royal Commission of Inquiry into processes and procedures followed by the Government of Papua New Guinea in obtaining the offshore loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland and related transactions’ was concluded with the handing down of the Final Report by the COI Chairman on 31 March 2022.

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