‘Misuse of LLG funds rampant’

National, Normal

MISUSE of public funds by local level government (LLG) heads and public servants in Southern Highlands province is escalating, according to Provincial and Local Level Governments secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc.
Mr Zurenuoc said in his Aug 17 letter to provincial administrator William Powi that huge amount of public funds intended for projects at the LLG were  misused by the LLG heads and public servants.
He said as a result, no projects were funded and he urged Mr Powi to identify the culprits and let the law take its course.
Mr Zurenuoc’s letter followed complaints by a group of Nipa LLG councillors alleging misappropriation of public funds earmarked for their area.
He said those responsible must be referred to the police, Ombudsman Commission and Minister for Provincial and Local-level Governments for appropriate action.
Former LLG council president for Nipa, John Hempe, had claimed that a total of K144,000 belonging to Nipa Basin local-level Government council had been misappropriated.
Nipa LLG council president David Navur, said yesterday that he welcomed an investigation into the financial books of the Nipa LLG.
However, he said that they must be  audit carried out before the investigation can take place.
He said without  auditing the books of the Nipa LLG the investigation could not go ahead.
Mr Navur said that there were proper procedures to follow because without auditing, how could people alleged that huge amounts of money had been misappropriated.
Mr Navur said that he had only been a president for a year after taking over from Mr Hempe, who had been the council president for more than 10 years.
He said his acquittals for last year and first quarter of this year were sent to the Southern Highlands provincial administration and copies to the Department of Provincial and Local-level Governments in March.
Mr Navur said his reports were with the appropriate authorities, but if the investigation were to be carried out, there must be an audit and also the terms of reference must go back another 10 years when Mr Hempe was the president.