By MALUM NALU
Highlands Farmers & Settlers Association vice-president Jonah Buka has described as "shameful" the actions of Goroka MP and Environment Minister Thompson Harokaqveh in not releasing K700, 000 allocated to the Goroka Show Committee by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.
Harokaqveh has not made any explanation since the matter was discussed on talkback radio in Goroka last week as well as reported in The National.
Buka said close to 100,000 people witnessed when O'Neill – who grew up in Goroka - gave K700, 000 to Goroka Show and K20.7 million to other projects such as National Sports Institute ground upgrade, Goroka roads, mobile clinic, and Goroka Secondary School.
"The people of Eastern Highland were beating their drums and kundus when the Prime Minister made the commitments," Buka said.
"For Minister Harokaqveh to pick the cheque from hands of rightful recipients and get his members of the Goroka Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee (JDBPPC) to endorse the change of name of the cheque to Goroka District is illegal and fraudulent.
"The actions of Minister Harokaqveh and members of his JDBP&PC amount to intending to defraud the Goroka Show Committee of K700, 000 and I call on police to investigate and charge them under appropriate laws of PNG.
"The actions of Minister Harokaqveh have tarnished the name of the Prime Minister and he should be reprimanded for that.
"The district administrator and district officials must give the cheque to the show committee or to make a counter cheque from the provincial treasury to make good the Prime Minister's commitment and goodwill.
"Goroka Show has commitment to settle service providers such as security, police and other service providers and must be given the money.
"For three years, the committee has settled its bills on time and now the uncalled actions of the minister have put everything into disarray.
"People are still waiting and it could cost the show committee additional expenses, which the minister should be held responsible for."
Buka congratulated chairman Gideon Samuel, his deputy David Seine and other members of the Goroka Show Committee for organising the 2011 Goroka Show which he said was biggest and most-colorful ever.