Unknown trust account

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday August 1st, 2013


LANDS and Physical Planning Department officials were surprised yesterday when told by Public Accounts Committee of the existence of a trust account containing K8.5million.

Committee chairman John Hickey told department secretary Romily Kila Pat, accounts manager Vavine Walo and senior accounts officer Linda Kuri that the special trust account held K8.5 million for the land purchased for Madang town.

He said the account existed in 2006 but the fund had been misused.

Hickey told the officers that the former department secretary had informed him that funds from that account had been used for purposes by the Lands Department but would be repaid.

To date, no effort has been made by the department to repay the amount it had used from the account.

Pat told the committee that he was not aware of the trust account and knew nothing about the transactions that occurred. 

Hickey advised Pat to conduct an inquiry into the matter and settle it. He must also produce a report on it to relevant authorities.  

Pat said the department had a trust account called the Land Acquisiton Trust where money was allocated by the Government for land acquisition or compensation. 

According to Hickey, the trust account was created by him in 2006 when he was the Finance Minister and held money for land purchases in Madang town.  

“This was approved government money for land to simple landowners,” he said.

“The landowners of Madang town have waited patiently for this and as it turned out the money got lost in the haze of administration that nobody knows anything about it.”