Officer ‘blows whistle’ on colleagues

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 9th, 2013

 A SENIOR officer with the Chimbu provincial treasury has blown the whistle on allegations of gross misuse of project funds by his colleagues. 

District accountant Charles Okuk said it was time the Government clamped down on rogue officers who were diverting and misusing project funds.

He claimed the practice had been going on for many years.

Okuk said he welcomed an investigation by the Task Force Sweep following a complaint about the alleged abuse.

“I have come out to support the Police Task Force Sweep team as the situation here is rife and a thorough investigation needs to be done,” he said.

Okuk said the Sweep team had been probing the matter for the past two months and should come up with some positive results.

He added that a department restructure was taking place with several senior public servants short-listed for key positions, including the provincial treasurer’s position. 

“It is important that those being short-listed do not have any issues hanging over them as it would defeat the purpose of a screening process,” Okuk said. 

“With this investigation in place, would it not be appropriate if the results of the investigation be released first before the selection committee confirms who takes up this key position?

“It is becoming a normal thing within the public service here and it’s time something is done about it. 

“People at all levels of the hierarchy are in too deep in this and I’m sure the investigation will turn a few heads,” Okuk said. 

He said allegations of funds misuse included K500,000 being diverted from the Karamui Nomane water project fund and paid to an alleged ‘ghost’ company based in Port Moresby.

“Plus a sum of K968,000 payment for Kup Aid Post in Kerowagi and K1.6 million for Muru High School in Kerowagi as well,” he said. 

Okuk said the full expenditure summary detail “is damning in itself and will not be hard to notice”.

Kerowagi district has a population of more than 54,000 people who have access to eight aid posts and six health centres but not enough health officers.