20 Nov 2002

PNG bank manager defends himself against an accusing MP

6:06 pm on 20 November 2002

The managing director of the Bank of the South Pacific, Noel Smith, has defended himself against claims he is undermining the Papua New Guinea government.

The Wewak MP, Kimson Kare, has called for Mr Smith's deportation after he outlined what he saw as serious flaws in the way the Government managed the Bank before the BSP purchased it.

The Bank was the first state owned enterprise privatised by the previous Morauta administration.

But the current government of Sir Michael Somare is to hold a commission of inquiry into the sale.

Mr Smith stresses that the PNGBC had to be privatised in order for it to survive, but that the move went against the personal interests of some politicians...

"The successful bid by BSP, wasn't well received by a number of politicians. The reason for that is why PNGBC had to be privatised in the first place because it's capital base had been completely eroded by extremely bad management decisions at the top level."

Noel Smith says the government's decision to open an inquiry is disappointing but that the bank will co-operate.