Then National, Wednesday 12th September, 2012
By GABRIEL LAHOC
A CONTRACTOR engaged by the Middle Ramu joint district planning and budget priority committee, under the chairmanship of former parliamentarian Ben Semri, wants Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll to release its outstanding payments.
The PNG Media Unit, which won a K700,000 contract this year as part of the district’s rural electrification and communication programme initiated by Semri, is yet to be paid K300,000.
Team leader Philip Sapau said the company was awarded the contract in March and completed the erection and installation of a transmitter and supporting facilities in the remote Arabacca area, enabling people there to watch television.
He said when the company consulted the Madang provincial treasury, it was told the contract was in order and that its payments had been processed.
Sapau said he later learnt that Tomscoll had frozen its transaction.
He said the company and its workers had suffered through Tomscoll’s direction to the Bank South Pacific branch in Madang to stop the payment.
“I call on the new MP to withdraw his directives regarding the district services improvement programme funding to us.
“Twenty-five of our workers are still stranded on site and are affected,” Sapau said.
“Maybe the new MP has his reasons but there is no explanation from him for the stop payment.”
He said the company had completed its contract in six months and had been waiting for three weeks for the final payment in the face of rising debts.