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MARAPE: GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS MEDICAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says the National Executive Council (NEC) process of engaging a Papua NewGuinean company to find a cure for COVID-19 is not yet complete.

He said this in response to allegations of impropriety and corruption on the part of his Government in relation to awarding of a K10.2 million contract to Niugini BioMed Ltd. Leaked NEC documents were reported on the front page of the Post-Courier and went viral on social media. PM Marape was disappointed that confidential State information was leaked to the media in what he said was a deliberate attempt to discredit his Government. “Our Cabinet process to engage Niugini BioMed Ltd is not yet complete,” he said. “But here, you have an agent of Opposition running loose within Government systems, siphoning off confidential documents and leaking them to media to make inferences of impropriety and corruption. “I commend Post-Courier for maintaining a higher level of investigative reporting under my tenure as Prime Minister, contrary to the eight lost years from 2011 to 2019, when the media was controlled with late night calls and threats to editors and managers. “However, the manner in which the newspaper gained access to a confidential NEC paper is suspicious.” PM Marape stressed that there was nothing illegal or improper about engaging PNG chemists, biologists and doctors to research into possible vaccines for COVID-19. “There is nothing illegal or improper about their possible engagement,” he said. “We have young and competent PNG scientists, who have presented their case to COVID-19 Controller Mr. David Manning and our medical and science community, that they may be on to something big. “It may be true, or vice-versa, but I am not a Prime Minister to kill ingenuity, research, science and study. “We are a nation of huge biodiversity, in fact, with five to seven per cent of the world’s biodiversity. Our ancestors lived with malaria, snake bites and all manner of tropical diseases.” “I am certain that we can find new medicines, amidst all this biodiversity, in our blessed land.” PM Marape urged PNG doctors and scientists, including those at the PNG Institute of Medical Research, to do more research. “Let us embrace research and science, not only for academic exercise, but for economic gain as well,” he said. “Look at the tiny nation of Israel which has more patents per capita than all countries globally. That’s why they are also an economic powerhouse. “To my critics; don’t think I am stupid. I know exactly what I want to do for my country.” PM Marape concluded: “There is nothing illegal about this process. “We will support those who want to do research. “I will not stop them, I will support them, through the proper processes - that was the essence of the NEC paper. “A full announcement on this will be made when the entire Cabinet process is complete, however, I make this statement when all sorts on inferences are made from documents stolen by shadowy figures for their political masters.”

November 2, 2020