No records of contractual transactions

Focus, Normal

DOCUMENTARY evidence including electronic copies of most contractual transactions between the Sepik Highway Trust and companies do not exist, the Public Accounts Committee has reported.
Even paperwork for a contract extended to reputable national commercial statutory organisations like Telikom PNG Limited for K600,000 for the Mt Tururu repeater station has disappeared.
Neither the Auditor-General nor this committee was able to find any documentation or records relating to this payment even after directing responsible authorities to produce the documents.
“This committee is once again left to conclude the missing documentation was either intentional or the result of gross negligence and incompetence by Trustees and the Department of Finance,” the PAC report to Parliament said.
This payment was referred by the committee to the Ombudsman and the Police for further investigation.
Other mysteries abound.
A contract to Bake Pty Ltd of K700,000 for the Dambui-Timbunkie highway maintenance.
This committee could only find evidence of only K570,000 having been paid from the trust account.
No documents were held by any Government department and nobody accepts responsibility for maintaining (or failing to maintain) those records.
The provincial administration could not demonstrate that K570,000 has been lawfully expended or demonstrated any value for money – or  demonstrated that the project was completed satisfactorily. 
The trustees cannot explain why they provided 81% of the cost of the project, where the monies came from or how they managed to approve payment of K570,000 with no documentation before them.
This contract too was referred to the Ombudsman and the police for investigation.
Procurement procedures were not followed in awarding Baimusu Construction Ltd maintenance work for district Treasury houses in Ambunti for K154,295.
Again there were no documents.
Niugini Builders was contracted to build the district Treasury office at Angoram for K305,000.
Once again, the committee finds that this contract did not follow any procurement procedures and that information and documentation had not been maintained or has been deliberately removed or destroyed.
The same finding was made for Garamut Enterprises K137,797 to build the Pagui Ambunti district Treasury office.
The provincial government and the departments of Finance and Planning had maintained no or inadequate information and accountable documentation which would enable either the Auditor-General or this committee  satisfied that the project was within the terms of the Trust Instrument.
Steamships Hardware was paid K491,567 to supply Kwik built houses for Wosera district.
While the company might have performed its job, the government agencies and trustees failed to leave any documentary footprints for the money.
This contract, too, was referred to the police and the Ombudsman Commission.
The PAC in conclusion said: “This committee again records grave concern that a significant amount of public money cannot be accounted for, was not recorded or acquitted by the Finance Department and appears to have been approved by trustees without any documentation and, quite possibly, falls outside the terms of the Trust Instrument.”