By ALISON ANIS
NATIONAL Superannuation Fund (Nasfund) chief executive officer Rod Mitchell yesterday confirmed the controversial K125 million sovereign community infrastructure treasury bills (SCITB) have been parked with Nasfund, The National reports.
“Nasfund is holding onto 125 million treasury notes issued under the Treasury Bill Act (2002). The notes won’t be released until the state clears its side,” Mitchell said.
He said that Nasfund had followed legal procedures but the state had not and must find a way correct that.
He said this following media reports yesterday where Minister for Communication Patrick Tammur announced that the K125 million was with Nasfund.
Mitchell argued that the information that came out in the media, including findings from the study conducted by National Research Institute which categorised the treasury bills as illegal, were incorrect.
In its report released last month, the NRI said the deal was done without the approval of parliament as required by the PNG Constitution sections 13 and 14, was not in line with the Public Finance Management Act and Bank of PNG Act, which limits government borrowing.
“The Public Management Act and Finance Act do not apply to treasury bills. This is different and as far as I know Nasfund has gone through legal process and I have all the legal documents with me to prove that,” Mitchell said.
“The purchase of 125 million treasury notes was guaranteed by the state.
“Nasfund has invested based on that fact and plays no part in how the funds are to be used and for what purpose since the bill was issued for and on behalf of the state.”
In a press statement, the Nasfund board has sworn to no secrecy when arguing and justifying the legitimacy of the deal.
Treasury bills, the board argued, was issued under the Treasury Bill Act by signature and authority of the Treasurer and Minister for Finance Patrick Pruaitch, co-signed by the Minister for National Planning and Development Paul Tiensten with the sponsorship of Tammur.
The board, which includes John Jeffery, Reginald McAlister, Dr John Nonggorr, Lady Wilhemina Siaguru, Hulala Tokome, Graham Ainui and Murray Woo, said the superannuation fund’s contribution in the treasury bill “will yield 7.05 % if rolled annually”.
“All indications from the state are that the treasury note will be rolled over through the Central Bank which is normal for such instruments.
“This has been confirmed in recent NEC deliberations,” the statement read.
The board and Mitchell assured contributors that all was okay and that reports in the media were incorrect and lacked accuracy.