MP loses K1mil in taxi

Main Stories, National

The National – Wednesday, December 1, 2010

MEMBER for Telefomin Peter Iwei has appealed for the return of a misplaced K1 million cheque for his electorate in West Sepik.
Iwei told The National yesterday that the cheque, handed to him on Monday for his electorate under the district services improvement programme (DSIP), was misplaced on his way home and he suspected a cab driver for holding onto it.
Iwei said the cheque was written to the Telefomin district treasury operating trust account and was intended for the joint district planning and budget priorities committee to determine the projects to be funded. But, he carelessly left it behind in a taxi, and now wanted it returned.
He explained that on Monday afternoon, between 4pm and 6pm, he got into a white taxi that was parked at a driveway in front of parliament and asked the driver to take him to his house.
“The cheque was in a white envelope that I, accidentally, placed on the dashboard in front of me. I forgot to pick it up when I got out of the taxi,” Iwei said.
He said he knew the identity of the cab driver but did not know where he resided and was appealing to him, or anyone who picked it up, to return it to him.
 “This K1 million DSIP cheque belongs to the people of Telefomin.
“I want it returned to my office immediately so I am appealing to the driver, or whoever took it, to return it to me.”
Iwei said he had written to the Department of the Finance and Treasury to put a stop on the cheque.
“Treasury has received my letter and will advise the bank on this, so they can also stop any transaction from taking place,” he said.
Iwei was one of a number of MPs who were met at one of parliament’s conference rooms by Finance Department officials who had gone there to pay them the K1 million in DSIP funds.
It was unclear why Finance Department officials had decided to bring the cheques physically to parliament to pay the MPs when they could have easily transferred the funds electronically to the district accounts and simply advise the MPs that the funds were safely in the bank.