Bishops say funds abused

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 17, 2011

LOCAL Catholic bishops have renewed  a call for parliament to “cease the inefficient system of allocating development funds to MPs to distribute”.
This was agreed to at the Ca­tholic Bishops Conference of Pa­pua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
“This system is a direct cause of election-related violence,” the bi­shops said.
“It is open to much abuse and the potential for corruption, especially by diverting these funds to projects or even directly as cash handouts to supporters,” the bi­shops said in a joint statement on the 2012 PNG election authorised by Port Mo­-resby archbishop John Ribat.
“As the 2012 election approaches, we see early signs of these very abuses and fear that a great deal of the wealth of the nation will be wasted in electioneering rather than being used for real prioritised and sustainable development.”
The bishops appealed to MPs to live up to their noble calling in pla­cing the needs of the people above theirs and to use funds exclusively for the benefit of the people.
“We note that famous slush funds or funds made available to a member of parliament for distribution at their discretion detracts from the dignity of the office of an MP and prevents the fulfilment of authentic political service.