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PNG Government sacks Sir Mekere

Sir Mekere. Getty Images
Port Moresby (The National): PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has appointed four members of the board of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) and sidelined chairman Sir Mekere Morauta.
The new board members are Acting Treasury Secretary Diari Vele who will act as chairman (ex officio), Western acting provincial administrator Dr Modowa Gumoi (ex officio), OTML managing director Nigel Parker (ex officio) and banking and finance executive Dr Jacob Weiss.
O’Neill said the appointment of Sir Mekere as chairman of OTML and board member ceased following the National Executive Council’s approval of the new board members, including an acting chairman.
Sir Mekere declined to comment yesterday on his removal by the National Executive Council.
O’Neill said the new board members would provide OTML with strong and accountable leadership and ensure the best interests of the people of the Western including mine landowners were given priority.
“The appointments follow the passage by Parliament last week of legislation transferring the shareholding in OTML held by the PNG Sustainable Development Program to the state,” he said in a statement.
He said the new board members would provide strong and experienced leadership for Ok Tedi Mining Ltd and offered the right blend of experience the company needed in a period of change.
“Ok Tedi Mining Ltd will function in a transparent and accountable way under the new board, and state ownership on behalf of the people of the Western,” he said.
O’Neill said the mine’s operations would continue as normal during the transition period which he was confident would be smooth and harmonious.
“I will be instructing the new board and the company’s management to engage closely with landowners, the people of the province, the provincial government and the MPs representing the province,” O’Neill said.
“The shareholding will be held by the state on behalf of the people of the Western and the Government will ensure that the people have the maximum possible engagement and involvement in the future of the mine, and its impact on the environment and the community.”
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