‘Probe missing funds’

National, Normal


A LOT of roads in Lae city are still in the same condition over the years.
And despite a K50 million funding from the National Government, the provincial government has no idea where half of the money for the roads has gone.
In a provincial executive council meeting at the Tutumang yesterday, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge revealed that the Provincial Supply and Tenders Board (PSTB) had been overlooked by the National Government.
He was responding to questions raised by Lae MP Bart Philemon.
Mr Philemon queried why five tender contracts had been awarded to contractors but the “roads look like there has not been any maintenance, repair or upgrading”.
Contracts of K3 million each had been awarded to a number of contractors in the province to work on city roads that included Huon, Airport, Bumbu, Milfordhaven and sections of the Air Corps road .
He questioned why priority had been given to the Omili to Butibam section of the Independence Drive in which K11 million had been allocated by the National Government for upgrading and sealing.
The road was opened last August by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare during the national leaders’ summit.
Mr Wenge said the first half of the K50 million was already received and had been used.
He said the Omili-Butibam section was not in the scope of work of the PSTB but the Central Supply and Tenders Board (CSTB).
“This was the board that decided and allocated K11 million for the road,” he said.
“While that was happening, contractors in the city were still having difficulty getting funds to continue working on the roads.”
Mr Wenge issued a directive during the PEC sitting for the provincial administrator to conduct a formal investigation into the whereabouts of the missing K25 million.
The provincial government and the PSTB had been overlooked by the National Government, he said.