FORMER attorney-general and justice minister Dr Allan Marat says “a little team” met in Brisbane, Australia, and elsewhere to negotiate the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.
“For some reason, I was not included in the team. My advice was never sought as there was no seriousness in using the office of the AG then.
“There was no serious consultation with me as (then) principal legal adviser to a matter that was of high national interest,” Marat told reporters in Kokopo last week.
He said even with the Maladina amendments, Esa’ala MP Moses Maladina never visited the AG’s office for advice on the proposed amendments to the Constitution and the Organic Law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership.
He said even a private bill, like the Maladina amendments, was supposed to go through the proper channels of vetting, through the office of the AG, to the legislative council and then the government caucus before going to Parliament.
Marat said the existing system of vetting was never followed for the Maladina amendments.
“I do not know how he came up with the idea, and I do not even know how he saw the need to amend the leadership code,” he said.
On the LNG agreement, Marat said the first time he saw the document was on May 21 last year when it was pushed across the table and told that it would be signed the next day and the legal clearance was required that same day, although it was pre-dated May 28, 2009.
“How do you expect my lawyers and I to properly analyse the implications, the benefits or matters that would be against the best interest of Papua New Guinea in less than 24 hours when the agreement was more than 200 pages?” he asked.
“That’s what I mean. There was no serious consultation on serious matters like the LNG,” he added.
Marat said the AG’s office would need at least a week to vet and make serious contributions in the best interest of Papua New Guineans on the PNG LNG project.
“This gas agreement was drawn up overseas. It was taken away from our government negotiating team and structured overseas. And, we are now forced to dance to the music of foreigners,” he added.

(Source: The National Newspaper 18 May, 2010)