The National, Wednesday, May 25, 2011
In Parliament with ISAAC NICHOLAS and JEFFREY ELAPA
NATIONAL Planning and Monitoring Minister Paul Tiensten has hit out at MPs who are being misled into paying commission from the people’s money into a scam network in Waigani.
He said the MPs were allowing certain individuals soliciting commission for the release of district cheques without informing police and the secretary and minister responsible.
Tiensten said the scam had networked from National Planning, Finance and Treasury and even connected to private financial institutions, including the central bank, Bank South Pacific and Westpac and some police personnel.
He gave an example where more than K2 million for the new Erima
Primary School was squandered through this scam and two people had been picked up and locked up at the police cells only to see them walk out again.
Tiensten told the MPs that there were processes and systems in place for the cheques to be paid directly to districts instead of MPs trying to become project managers and public servants by delivering the cheques.
“These are people’s money and not for MPs to start running after public servants in corridors of parliament to collect the cheques and MPs driving round with cheques in taxis.”
He said there were some good officers in planning, finance, treasury, banks and police but “there are some rotten apples spoiling the name of these good organisations”.
“This scam is entrenched and MPs must be careful with whom you are dealing with because there are people using the secretary’s name and minister’s name to steal people’s money.”
Tiensten said there had been numerous paid public advertisements and notices in the media about these imposters and, yet, MPs did not take heed of the advice.
He said this when responding to questions from Jimi MP Wake Goi in parliament yesterday.
Goi said it was an expensive exercise to bring services to remote districts.
He said last Nov 25, he got a faxed copy of two cheques, a K1.8 million for Jimi district market and a K4.8
million for Jimi High school.
“They faxed the copies of the cheques and asked me to go meet them to get my cheque on condition that I pay them some money.”