The National – Friday, December 3, 2010
ATTEMPTS by a member of parliament to expose fraud and graft at the Department of National Planning have backfired with the authorities now questioning the motives and methods used in dealing with public funds.
In a front-page story yesterday, The National reported that Telefomin MP Peter Iwei had used personal funds to induce finance officers at the Vulupindi Haus to release a cheque for K12.4 million.
After paying K10,000 into a private Westpac bank account and being provided a Department of National Planning and Monitoring remittance advice, Iwei later found out that the K12.4 million cheque was worthless.
Global anti-corruption organisation Transparency International (TIPNG) yesterday said in a statement that the use of personal funds to claim government funds was questionable and created a lot of suspicion.
“Additionally, the attempted use by the MP of a consultancy company to manage K12.4 million in development funds further compounds suspicion around the use of public funds,” TIPNG stated.
“If most of PNG’s development expenditure is spent in this way, then grassroots people can be assured that all government development plans will go nowhere fast.”
It also called on the government to take a greater holistic approach towards demonstrating its willingness and commitment in seriously combating corruption.
TIPNG said it was alarming that Iwei had, days earlier, saw fit to personally take carriage of a cheque for K1 million of electoral funds without due diligence and care, losing it in a taxi on his way home from parliament.
“The assertion by the same MP that he was not aware of the existence of the infamous Vulupindi syndicate is ludicrous, given that much publicity has been made on this issue over the past months.”
However, TIPNG did acknowledge efforts by the Telefomin MP to bring the issue to light in the media.
“Furthermore TIPNG would like to call on Iwei to initiate the relevant measures to bring this matter to the attention of concerned agencies such as the police fraud squad to institute legal proceedings.
“TIPNG now calls on all key stakeholders, in particular the police fraud and anti-corruption squad and the departments of Finance and Treasury and National Planning, to take a more proactive role in addressing the issues at hand.
“These institutions should be playing a role that is perceived to be dynamic, efficient, well-resourced and result-driven to enhance public confidence in the capacity of government to tackle corruption from the top down.
“Instead, it appears that from the top down, there is little, if any, will to tackle systemic corruption that plagues PNG public expenditure today,” TIPNG stated.