RECENTLY The National published allegations by Abau MP Sir Puka Temu that funds for sealing and maintaining the Magi Highway were redirected to other projects under the previous government.
Sir Puka claimed K100 million loan from the World Bank which was earmarked for the sealing of the Magi Highway to support the Cape Rodney rubber project in Abau, Central was re-directed to East Cape Road in Milne Bay and Rigo Road in Central.
The World Bank like all banks give loans if there is an economic return and this loan was approved because rubber products from the Cape Rodney Rubber project go down the Magi Highway to the Port Moresby wharf for export.
I am not aware of the type of products that go down the East Cape road to Alotau or the Rigo road to Port Moresby for export so there is really no economic rationale to use the World Bank funds on these two roads.
Furthermore, Sir Puka claimed that he argues for and gets approval for K10 million every year in the national budget for the maintenance of Magi Highway but the budget allocations are managed by the Works Department.
It appears the Works Department has not applied the funds to the Magi Highway.
The issue relates to the conduct of our leaders such as ministers and senior public servants as to whether they have the powers to re-direct funds from the budget approved by the Parliament.
This is where the Ombudsman Commission steps in.
The World Bank loans and projects submitted by ministers and MPs go through the budget process so there should be plenty of documents available for the Ombudsman Commission to look at.
Take a look at the East Coast and Rigo roads’ construction in 2016 and it will tell you which ministers and senior public servants were involved in diverting these funds to other projects.
Over to you Chief Ombudsman.