Sir Puka: What K5 million?

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday 30th November 2011

AGRICULTURE and Livestock Minister Sir Puka Temu has denied claims he is among senior ministers who received large payments of unbudgeted funds to pay for ministerial commitments and electoral projects.
He said in a statement yesterday he was amazed by the opposition claim that senior government ministers “can just allocate themselves large amounts of money without going through the budget process”.
“I have been the deputy prime minister, a senior minister and department head and the only way I know public funds are secured to fund government commitment is through the budget,” he said.
“Everyone, including the opposition members, the media, public servants and the public should know that spending large sums of money outside of the budget is illegal.”
He said it was absurd for the opposition to make such a claim because there were credible, respectable and experienced people in government who knew the processes involved in approval and using public funds.
“They must think we know nothing about budgets and running governments and I think it makes them look stupid and silly.
“When they got the document, they should have questioned it and, as people with experience in government, they should have discarded it given the fact that spending money outside of the budget is illegal.”
Sir Puka said if the opposition claimed “that we received the payments”, then, they should say where the funds were parked.
“There are many things I could do with the K5 million in my Abau electorate or in my ministry,” Sir Puka said.
However, according to the project funding list in the report from Finance Department, Sir Puka got K5 million worth of projects in his electorate.