Interveners approved to query report on Covid-19 funds

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By KARO JESSE
THE Supreme Court has approved Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa and Bank of South Pacific Financial Group Ltd (BSP)’s application to be interveners in a special reference questioning the legality of an audit report on the coronavirus (Covid-19) funds.
The special reference was filed by Opposition Leader Belden Namah raised legal issues against forensic accountant Andy Pape who was engaged by State of Emergency (SOE) Controller David Manning to audit a report on the use of the funds.
Kwa’s application, filed through Solicitor-General Tauvasa Tanuvasa, and BSP was uncontested by Namah and Justice Alan Kingsley David granted as first and second interveners yesterday.
Other interested parties who showed up yesterday were Prime Minster James Marape, the Fly River administrator and Ok Tedy Mining Limited (OTML).
Pape had already filed his application but yet to be served.
Justice David adjourned the case to Aug 5 for further directions and hearing of applications to intervene by the interested parties.
Namah is claiming that the consultant, Pape, the principle of Pape Accountant and Business Adviser engaged to carry out the audit on the use of donor funds for the Covid-19, was not a registered accountant.
Last year, Marape, former Police Minister Bryan Kramer and Comm Manning engaged FTI Australia to conduct forensic investigations into the use of donor funds, including those from Australia, to assist PNG’s Covid-19 fight.
Pape was engaged by Comm Manning to carry out the audit given the urgency of the matter, which he purportedly undertook between March 27 and June 12 last year and presented the report to Kramer and Manning on July 14.
Through the reference, Namah is claiming that the audit report was unlawful and, therefore, police should not act on that report.
Namah has questioned the credentials of Pape as an accountant and is seeking legal clarification on substantial amounts of money FTI Australia had allegedly paid to him.
Pape is a member of the special police forensic criminal investigation team established by the Commissioner of Police last Aug 20.

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