PM to direct probe into CMCA funds

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PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill will direct an investigation into the withdrawal of K15 million from the Community Mine Continuation Agreement trust accounts.
O’Neill told Parliament that he would take the action following questions by Western Governor Toboi Awi Yoto on Friday, claiming that he had evidence of the funds being released to a legal firm.
“It’s a bit of news to hear that expiate orders have been given whilst audits are being conducted on this particular trust accounts,” O’Neill said.
“I believe that these expiate orders when given in the province where the court hearing had taken place without much representation from any of the other affected parties in this case.
“It is a concern that those orders have now facilitated the release of K15 million from the trust accounts.
“A few years ago I put a stop to access these accounts, because of this reason people were continuing to using these funds and virtually vultures circling around these trust accounts at every opportunity to access those funds,” he said.
O’Neill said the government had received an inter-government report on that.
“Our officials are going through that report. I can assure the government that as soon as I receive and I’m hoping that I can table that report in Parliament next week.
“But in the meantime, I can assure the good governor that the National Executive Council in its wisdom has re-established the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Office because the legislation is still being processed by the Attorney-General’s Office because of conflicting ICAC legislation is affecting other legislations like the police force legislations, but we cannot wait for that legislation, something needs to happen.
“I can inform this house that NEC has made the decision to establish the interim ICAC office and we have appointed a very experienced police officer, Thomas Elu, to head that office as chairman and he is now putting that team together.
“I want to assure the governor that I will be giving the good officer a copy of the audit report including this complaint that K15m was withdrawn without due process from that account so that he can conduct an investigation and prosecute those individuals that are involved,” O’Neill said.

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