The National – Wednesday, December 29, 2010
By ELLEN TIAMU
MINISTER for Defence Bob Dadae yesterday admitted to the Department of Defence owing money to catering company, NCS, dating back to last year.
However, he said in Lae that the figure was contestable.
Dadae said NCS was among a number of other service providers such as Telikom, Eda Ranu, Waterboard and PNG Power that the department still had to settle bills amounting to about K15 million.
He said, among other things, non-payment of outstanding bills had led to the suspension of Defence secretary Fred Punagi while investigations were carried out.
Acting Defence secretary Billy Porykali and acting PNGDF commander Alois Ur Tom yesterday met with the NCS management and settled part of the bill.
Dadae said with government accounts closed for the year, it was difficult to negotiate or fast-track payment and he appealed to the catering company to be lenient on the department and to resume its services.
He also thanked soldiers for their understanding and patience while the matter was being sorted out.
On the issue of non-payment of other utilities such as water, power and telephone, the minister said the department would also consider whether savings could be made through the use of easi-pay meters and the maintenance of broken water pipes.