Islanders want admin to acquit for K100,000

Lae News, Normal

The National, Thursday 09th Febuary 2012

VILLAGERS on Siassi Island are questioning the manner in which K100,000 given by Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah has been spent.
On Oct 15 last year, Namah, while on a tour to the Bunsil government station on the island, gave the money to local level government council officers and told them to distribute it among the 30 villages on the main island, the islets and atolls.
The money was given to the council manager, with Namah emphasising that the money not be used for any projects but for people to buy food for a village gathering.
Each village ended up with K7,000.
Angry islanders, led by Willie Kuso, said yesterday in Lae that the money worked out to K21,000.
“So where is the other K79,000?” he asked.
The villagers claim that since receiving the money most of the administration’s staff members, including the council manager, had moved to Lae.
“There is no one there to work in the government offices,” Kuso said.
The irate islanders now want the Morobe administration to recall the councillor and have him account for the funds.
“We understand it is a gift from the deputy prime minister but that does not mean any government officer can ignore the rules and regulations of the Public Finance Management Act,” he said.
“The council manager and his administration have a moral responsibility to acquit the money.
“In the run up to the elections, the deputy prime minister’s good intentions could work against him, with voters saying that Namah did not distribute the money evenly, when it was never his fault.
“We say the council manager and his officers should be held accountable.”