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This week's local news - July 18 - 21, 2013.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

'Major fraud' uncovered in use of Kikori MOA funds

A MAJOR fraud involving office of the Minister for National Planning and District Development, chairmen of landowner associations in Kikori, a foreign company and a contractor has been uncovered according to Mark Maipakai, MP, Member for Kikori Open and Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations.

The fraud involves the funding of K220 million for 10 Gulf major projects in Kikori. The projects were approved in a Special NEC Decision No. 199/2008 dated Sept 18, 2008 and initial funding of K60 million was appropriated in the 2008 Supplementary Budget. An additional K30 million was appropriated in the 2009 Development Budget.

The Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations and Member for Kikori alluded to copies of documents to his office from the Department of National Planning and Monitoring and the Ministry of National Planning and District Development.

Mr Maipakai in his statement to the media called on the Minister of National Planning and District Development, Paul Tiensten, to explain to the people of Kikori, Gulf province, and the nation, as to what criteria he used to authorise payments for MOA funds to chairmen of landowners associations in Kikori ignoring directions from the office of the Prime Minister and requests from brother ministers to have the MOA funds transacted through the JDPBPC.

The documents reveal that the chairmen of four landowners associations received the approximately K35 million of the MOA funds.

"The question is why have funds been released without proper project submission, status reports, proper accounting and acquittals?" Mr Maipakai queried.

The money was to fund:
  • Kikori to Kaiam road project - K40 million;
  • Kaiam bridge project - K12 million;
  • Kaiam to Baina road project - K30 million;
  • Kopi to Wouwobo road project - K25 million:
  • Kikori to Omati to Koumaio road project - K25 million;
  • Kikori Airstrip Redevelopment project - K35 million
  • Kikori Hospital Redevelopment project - K15 million;
  • Kikori Port Development project -K10 million;
  • Kikori Ferry and Marine Livelihood project - K8 million; and
  • Kikori housing project - K10 million.
Mr. Maipakai said that "no funds paid to landowner associations have been expended on any of the major development projects in Kikori".

Mr. Maipakai said the Kikori District Joint Planning & Budget Priority Committee (JDP & BPC) approved funding for Kikori to Omati to Koumaio road, Kopi to Wouwobo road; Kikori Airstrip Redevelopment; and Kikori Ferry and Marine Livelihood projects.

Minster Maipakai further alluded to a copy-and-paste tactic exercised by landowner associations and the contractor to lure the Minister for National Planning and District Development into approving the release of further K5 million from the MOA Trust Account, for the signing of License Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBSA), and related activities.

He said: "This is daylight robbery Minister Tiensten must explain to the people of Kikori. In fact the landowners associations who have received funds from the MOA Trust Account are not signatories to the 1991 Kutubu MOA, nor do the funds have any relevance to the Gas Pipeline or the License Benefit Sharing Agreement Forum, recently held in Port Moresby.

"We have in no uncertain terms conveyed to the Department of National Planning and Monitoring not to release MOA funds to anyone in Kikori district without any consultation with me as a Chairman of the Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities  Committee, a body that has been mandated to approve projects for funding under the new MOA guidelines. This was further instructed in a letter from the Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

"I have acquitted expenditure reports to the Department of Treasury and Finance and the Department of National Planning and Monitoring on funds released through the Kikori District Planning & Budget Priority Committee to fund several of the development project in the district under the MOA.   

"I have been waiting for six months and these landowner associations have not submitted their acquittal reports yet funds are released to them. What motives and interest are applied here?

"This is not a fight against leaders. It is a fight against corruption. If there is corruption, we must weed it out. There is a major conspiracy and fraud involved in the payout of MOA funds to these named landowner association, then it becomes a case of investigation by Ombudsman Commission and police for justice to prevail."

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