By HELEN TARAWA
THE Department of Finance and Office of the Secretary are investigating outstanding claims worth K3 million by service providers to the Apec Joint Task Force Security.
Apec Minister Justin Tkatchenko told The National that claims by service providers totalling K3 million for vehicle hire and catering services were put through the Finance Department for payment.
“The situation is that all the payments for all the hired cars were referred to Finance for a full investigation because of the amount of millions for hire cars, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” the minister said.
“We only need to hire cars for the events, why are the vehicles being used when we do not have events happening?
“That is a waste of money, misuse of properties and vehicles.”
Tkatchenko said claims for the hire cars that police engaged were all with Finance under full investigation and that went for catering too.
“At no stage at all has Prime Minister Peter O’Neill spoken to these people or even knows what their claims are and he has no idea about that statement made.”
O’Neill had in August assured service providers that there were sufficient funds to run all the senior officials’ meetings.
He said genuine service providers’ payments were being processed and paid. The service providers claimed that their outstanding payments had not been paid.
They had threatened to withdraw their services and shut down Oakley House, the Joint Task Force Security (JSTF) headquarters. Police Commissioner Gari Baki has assured the service providers that their outstanding fees would be paid.
“I just signed a documentation requesting funding to be released to pay for all those services,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned they will be paid, it’s not a matter of not honouring their commitments.”
Service providers’ spokesperson Jerry Marigi threatened to withdraw all their services and shut down Oakley House if payments were not made this month.
“We have resolved that we will shut down by way of protest and park all our vehicles outside,” he said.
“No one seems to be giving us any answers, which is why we have resolved to take this action.”
Another service provider, Louis Kanduo, said he had about 10 vehicles on hire and every month he had been submitting invoices which totalled to more than half a million.
Said Tkatchenko: “These service providers are only hire vehicles which the Apec Authority never hired and catering services as well.
“The situation is that the JSTF have their own account, they have their own funding and it’s their responsibility to pay their service providers that they engage.
“If any service provider has a purchase order, they will be paid through the correct process but for these people the police was hiring, they have to make sure they have the budget and follow proper
procedures that finance put forward.“JSTF must get their act together and what they are engaging for, the right reasons and they follow proper process.”
By HELEN TARAWA