Funds for road upgrade missing

Lae News, Normal


ONLY K25 million of the K50 million bugeted for Lae roads has been used. Works secretary Joel Luma said yesterday that the other K25 million had gone mission. However, a senior government officer said this money was “parked in a trust account somewhere in aigani”.Without money, road works have grounded to at.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Mr Luma said under the Public Finances (Management) Act 1995, the National Government components were involved which included the K50 million.
Under the act, Part VII state tenders and contracts, section 39 subsections (1)(b) the supply and tenders board on the advice of the Finance Department head and the minister have the jurisdiction  to control and regulate the supply of works and services for and on behalf of the State.
And because the funds are a National Government component, it was within the jurisdiction of the National Suppliers and Tenders Board (NSTB) to oversee the scope of works for the roads.
Mr Luma said that for the Huon Road section up to Boundary Road, an unknown contractor had gone in and done work on the road without consultation.
This matter was still under investigation by the Works Department and NSTB.
Even though the roads had been classified as provincial, the funds being committed for use were the National Government’s hence the involvement of the NSTB, Mr Luma added.
In a Morobe provincial executive council sitting last month, Governor Luther Wenge said the Government had overlooked his government and the provincial supply and tenders board in the awarding of contracts.
He issued a directive in a Provincial Executive Council (PEC) meeting in September for the provincial administrator to conduct an investigation into the funds.
Mr Wenge and provincial administrator Kemaseng Tomala were not in available for comments   in Lae yesterday.