O’Neill puts stop on funds for people of Western

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 14th of February, 2014

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has put a stop to the use of the Non-Community Mine Continuation Agreement managed by the Mining Department for Western people.
He told Parliament the funds had recently become a topic of public debate by people who had an interest in it.  He, therefore, had put a stop to all payments of those funds.
“I have not lifted that ban yet because I didn’t want these funds utilised while all these issues surrounding no proper management and accountability of those funds need to be put to rest,” he said.
“I think it is important that we secure the funds of the people so that is why I have a ban on it to making sure not one single transaction is made.” He raised this after South Fly MP Aide Ganasi said that K8.7 million was used from the fund to purchase a landing barge which he later found out only cost K3 million and was a second-hand vessel.
He asked O’Neill to institute an independent audit into how that K8.7 million was approved and used.
O’Neill said a commission of inquiry would be set up to look into it.
“I want to assure the member that no funds will be withdrawn or paid out of these funds until we resolve all these issues,” he said.

“And that includes the investigations into the transactions that the member is talking about.
“I will ask the minister of finance to organise an independent audit.”
He said the audit should be carried out by a big international accounting firm.