The National – Tuesday, February 8, 2011
By ALISON ANIS and JACOB POK
CHAIRMAN of the Motu Koitabu Assembly (MKA) Miria Ikupu said he may be forced to close down the assembly due to funding constrains.
Ikupu said funding for MKA as established by the national government as per section 33 of the NCDC Act and section 38 of the MKA Act had not been released since last November and this had disrupted the flow of services to the Motu Koitabu villagers.
“A monthly grant of K416,000 over the past three months had not been released, NCD Governor Powes Parkop has stopped the funding for MKA in November 2010,” Ikupu told journalists at the media conference yesterday. He did not say why, adding that the matter has been referred and currently before the court.
Ikupu said the assembly was currently strapped for cash after he used reserved funds and that he might consider shutting it down if nothing was done to get NCDC to release the funds.
He called on the government including the Minister for Provincial and Local Level Government Job Pomat to immediately intervene into the issue facing the indigenous landowners.
“The situation has jeopardised all MKA’s programmes including the education subsidies to all children of Motu-Koitabu to help ease school fee burdens faced by parents.
“It has put on hold service-delivery to Motu Koitabu villages and affecting lives of the villagers who need these services,” Ikupu said.
He explained that the services under HOPE (health, opportunities, prosperity and education) programme had been disrupted and had affected livelihood of the people.
“One of the initiatives under HOPE programme was the clean-up exercise for each village.
“Now if you go to the villages you will see rubbish piling up everywhere,” he said.
Ikupu said MKA received a total of K5 million each year with monthly allocations of K416,000.
“The government and minister Pomat must intervene quickly and issue directives for the release of the money to MKA.
“I am afraid if nothing is done, I will be forced to close the assembly and the indigenous people of this land, which the office represents will suffer,” he said.
However, NCD governor brushed aside Ikupu’s comments, saying that the funds have been withheld due to internal disputes among MKA members.
“As far as I am concerned, I do not have any differences with Ikupu or the MKA; as the governor and leader responsible for the disbursements of funds, I acted upon a resolution passed last year by a majority of 11 members of MKA to stop the funds until the internal disputes were solved,” Parkop said.
He said his office had waited for Ikupu, as the chairman of MKA, to convene a meeting with the assembly members, and solve the internal issues and set the house in order before the funds could be released but this had not been done.
“The funds are just waiting to be released any time, even today or tomorrow; the simple and genuine procedure was for Ikupu to convince a meeting, get members together and iron out all internal issues and come up with an agreement before MKA’s rightful funds can be released,” he said.
Parkop added that it was no use going to the media and various government departments to seek redness when the issue was simple and could be solved within the MKA.