Ambunti-Dreikikir leaders query diversion of funds

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MORE than K2 million of district service improvement programme (DSIP) funds have been removed from the Ambunti-Dreikikir district accounts and paid into another electorate in East Sepik province by the Department of Finance in Waigani.
Another K100,000, held in a disaster trust account, was also diverted to address the cholera outbreak in Angoram district on directions from the Prime Minister.
Both transactions were done without consultations with the Ambunti-Dreikikir joint district planning and budget priorities committee (JDP&BPC) resulting in shortfall of funds to implement projects and address the current Sepik River flooding.
Members of the Ambunti-Dreikikir JDP&BPC met at Taloa Lodge in Wewak last Friday and demanded that the K2 million, diverted by the Finance Department, be reimbursed and K100,000 of its disaster funds refunded by the East Sepik provincial administration.
Ambunti-Dreikikir district treasurer Lilly Hewi told the JDP&BPC members that K4 million was deposited into the district trust account last March 9 and withdrawn two days later.
She said according to bank documents, the transfer of that money into another district account was done on July 31 last year.
Ambunti-Dreikikir MP and Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo, who was under fire from his local level government presidents for the non-implementation of projects in his electorate, said most projects approved by the JDP&BPC could not be implemented because of the illegal transaction by the Department of Finance in Waigani.
The K2 million was diverted to Yangoru-Saussia electorate by the Finance Department.
The JDP&BPC, in its resolution demanded that the K2 million be immediately refunded by the department.
On the missing K100,000 disaster funds, East Sepik provincial treasurer Gabriel Saul said Ambunti-Dreikikir had K200,000 in its account.
Mr Saul said last June 5, the provincial administration got an order from Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc that there was no acquittal of that money and it was still sitting in the trust account.
He said on Jan 14, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare directed the provincial administration to move that money to address the cholera outbreak in Angoram.
Mr Saul said K100,000 was used and the balance of K100,000 was still available which the provincial administration would release to the district to address the current disaster.