Madang government fails court officials

National, Normal

The National – Monday, January 31, 2011

YEARLY funding for village courts has received little or no attention from the Madang administration.
This was made known by provincial village court officer Ilai Valaunia last Thursday when responding to the dilemma over non-payments of monthly allowances to village court representatives in the Usino-Bundi Gama LLG.
Valaunia said since 1995, after their first training run by an officer from the Village Court Secretariat in Port Moresby, the officials were not supposed to carry out duties as there was not enough funding.
“But because they had been gazetted prior to their training, legally they are supposed to work,” he said.
“Usino-Bundi and Gama, Arabaka in Middle Ramu and Naiudo in Rai Coast are new establishments. “Without my knowledge, they were instructed to work after their training.
“I later learnt that they were already solving disputes and I had to find money somewhere to pay them.”
Court officials in Usino-Bundi and Gama area have not been paid since 2009.
Valaunia said a one-off payment from the K30,000 of the previous year was paid to the Usino-Bundi court officials last year.
He claimed yearly submission by him to provincial government authorities for adequate funding had always been ignored.
“To even get some funding from the K1 million allocated for law and order through the district services improvement plan (DSIP) is hard.
“We do not know where the money goes,” he said.
Valaunia said the insufficient budget ceiling from the national government was often not topped up by the provincial government.
He added that monthly payments made were only for mediation hearings only and not full court sittings for Usino-Bundi LLG.