Leader of the Opposition Sir Mekere Morauta has renewed his challenge to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to inform Papua New Guineans for which forest areas he co-signed carbon credit certificates in favour of an Australian-based company Climate Assist last year.
Sir Mekere said it was a very serious issue that demanded a full explanation by the Prime Minister.
“People need to know what he has sold, to whom, for how much, and where the money is.”
Official documents bearing the PNG National Government crest show that Prime Minister Somare signed certificates for Climate Assist together with the suspended Executive Director of the Office of Climate Change Dr Theo Yasause and Director of Climate Assist Mr Gregory Thomas Corby.
A certificate was signed on 12th June 2008 with Series Number A33, 000,001 to A39, 666,666 with the beneficiaries named as Climate Assist (PNG) Ltd and the Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Office (PNG).
It commits 6,666,665 metric tonnes of carbon credits with a maturity date of 01 January 2012 when the current Kyoto Protocol will end.
Sir Mekere said that the Prime Minister must tell the nation whether he signed this document or not.
“Is it a forgery?
“If it is not, he must tell the public why he has done this and which resources belonging to which landowners he has committed.
“Those landowners and the general public need to know.”
Another document obtained by the Opposition shows that the Ruthven Street Business Banking Centre of the Westpac Bank in Toowoomba
According to a letter written on 24th September 2008 to Mr Edwin Price, Executive Manager of Climate Assist by a senior manager at that Westpac branch, the certificates were issued on 22nd September 2008, each for 39 million metric tonnes of carbon credits, with Series Numbers C1 to C39 and B1 to B39.
The letter bears the common seal of Climate Assist PNG, an official stamp of the Westpac branch and is witnessed by a Justice of the Peace.
“Prime Minister did you issue these additional certificates to Climate Assist?
“If you did not, who did?
“With authority from whom?
“And whose resources do they pertain to?”
Sir Mekere said that it was incumbent on the Prime Minister to tell the truth to the nation.
“He is yet to answer the 20 questions I asked him some months ago on climate change and related issues.
“He cannot continue to ignore or evade questions on important national issues, hoping that in time people will simply forget.”