By REBECCA KUKU
THE Public Accounts Committee has warned the owners of two foreign-owned companies contracted to distribute medicine around the country “not to defy summons ever again” after failing to attend yesterday’s inquiry.
L&Z Enterprise Logistics Company directors Hong Ling and Chang Chung instead sent local general manager (logistics) Paul Pio to the inquiry.
Owner of the Telemu No 16 Ltd Xiao Liang Liu also sent a local employee.
Deputy committee chairman Gary Juffa, Northern Governor, warned them they would “face consequences” if they again failed to turn up today.
“Do not defy summons again. Bring the owners,” Juffa told the local employees representing the companies.
It was the third session of the inquiry into the procurement, supply and distributions of medicine.
Juffa said they had summoned the owners, not the employees, to appear before the committee.
“We can provide a translator if that’s the problem,” he said.
Pio said one of the directors was “out of town, and the other one is here but sent me instead as I am in charge of the logistics”.
Pio said he had worked for 20 years with the Health Department’s procurement section and an Area Medical Store manager as well. He joined the company in 2014.
“We currently have two contracts with the Health Department.
“One is the routine supply for Southern worth K9.8m and the medical kits supplies also for Southern worth K8.1m,” he said.
“The company has been operating in PNG since 2011 and won the contract in 2014.”
Juffa then queried Pio how the company won the contract at the same time he joined it, referring to his 20-year employment with the procurement section. “Government contracts below K10m cannot be awarded to foreign-owned companies.
“How was it awarded to this Chinese company? Was it due to your 20-year relationship with the procurement department, that the company secured the contract after you joined them?”
Pio maintained that it was a public tender and anyone could bid for it.
Juffa told him he was not the owner but a local.
Committee member William Tongamp, Jiwaka Governor, told Pio that he and his employers had wasted the committee’s time.
“A Chinese company who saw fit to enter into contracts worth less than K10m that is reserved for Papua New Guineans by law, a company that wants to do business in our country but fails to respond to our summons?
“You tell them to come tomorrow (today) to the inquiry so that they can answer to the committee and the people of this country.”
By REBECCA KUKU