Institute identifies irregularities


ISSUES around project design, transparency and accountability and operation outside legal frameworks have been identified in two state infrastructure projects in the country, according to the Institute of National Affairs (INA).
These projects include the US$235 million (about K807 million) Pacific Marine Industrial Park Zone (PMIZ) in Madang and the Kumul Submarine Cable Network (KSCN) to cover 14 provinces around the country.
INA executive director Paul Barker said: “The PMIZ has hardly started and there’s a lot of money that has been spent but little to show for on the ground other than an alleged US$4 million (about K13.7 million) gate and other ground works despite being in place for a long period of time.
“The problem with that project is that there is considerable lack of information, a lot of different players and confusion over roles, confusion of the scope of work, environmental plans, engagement with the local communities and discontent,” he said.
“There has also been issues to do with politically exposed persons and conflicts of interest.
“When you come to Kumul submarine, we don’t know the details.
“We know that there was an expectation that when the Coral Sea Cable came in that we’d have improved internet access.
“We know that the connection is there, the access should be there but then there have been issues of connectivity and DataCo having the burden,” he said.
“The domestic cable (KSCN), (has) a lot of issues.
“How much does it actually cost?
“Who is responsible and all these?
“Is DataCo responsible for that cost?”
Barker said this during the launch of the institute’s Belt Road Initiative Monitor website yesterday.
The initiative is an online platform to analyse the level of transparency of China’s belt and road initiative to examine regional programmes by evaluating public data accessibility based on 38 data points concerning contract phases.