The National, Wednesday July 17th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says Central Governor Kila Haoda can have access to funds belonging to the Kairuku-Hiri district as deputy chairman of the joint district budget priority committee (JDBPC).
O’Neill said he was surprised to hear from Haoda that he was unable to access his funds as the money had been frozen after the Court of Disputed Returns dismissed Paru Aihi as MP of the electorate under allegations of bribery.
He said the money did not belong to the MPs but to the people therefore he could see no reason for the freezing of the account.
O’Neill said he would instruct Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenouc to direct treasury to release the funds to Haoda, who would chair the joint district budget priority and planning committee to deliver projects as in their plans.
“Under the law, governors are deputy chairmen of their respective joint district budget priority and planning committees. He should conduct meetings in the absence of the member and he can also fund projects,” O’Neill said.
He was responding to questions without notice from Haoda in Parliament last Friday when he wanted to know why the district services improvement programme funds for Kairiku Hiri district could not be released as more than half of his people live in rural areas and were in need of basic services.
He said he had been advised by his provincial administrator that the governor could not access the funds as they were frozen after Aihi was removed by the Court of Disputed Returns.