The National, Friday 31st May 2013
CHIEF Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc took over as acting finance Secretary yesterday in a bid to mend structural and operational deficiencies in the department recently rocked by allegations of corruption.
Zurenuoc and Finance Minister James Marape met with department staff and later held a media conference to announce their plans to revamp the key central agency.
Marape said that Zurenuoc would act in the position while incumbent Steven Gibson and his deputy Jacob Wafai were under suspension.
“The department is operating as usual with all employees doing their jobs as usual,” he said.
The minister said among the immediate measures in place were the removal of some powers from the deputy secretary and the engagement of an internal audit team besides the government-sanctioned investigation team.
Meanwhile, the Finance Department has given its assurance of full support and co-operation into the investigations of payments to individuals and laws firms.
Deputy Secretary (strategy) Samuel Penias assured Zurenuoc: “We will not hide anything.”
Penias said the department’s internal audit division had already begun work and had prepared a report to be presented to Zurenuoc and the investigation team.
Zurenuoc said many department officers worked under trying and difficult circumstances and it was not his intention to make it any harder for them.
“Finance is a very important department; it is the pay office of PNG. It plays an important role in service delivery right down to the districts,” he said.
“I’m tired of dragging all of you into this and portraying the Department of Finance as a bad department because the majority of you are great people who are doing the right thing for your country.
“I want to acknowledge your performance under very difficult circumstances.”