Thursday, March 05, 2009

Massive scam within Papua New Guinea AIDS Council

Papua New Guinea National AIDS Council Secretariat chairman Sir Peter Barter today confirmed reports that there is massive corruption “involving millions of kina” within the NACS.

He has also described as “unacceptable” a letter from NACS acting director Romulus Pakure regarding more than two million condoms going past their expiry date without being distributed.

Sir Peter made the confirmation as international media reports surfaced of HIV/AIDS ravaging PNG as the NACS became “rotten to the core”.

“It’s a mess,” he said.

“That’s all I can say about it.

“There is an inspection going on, as well as an internal investigation.

“It’s quite a big scam involving millions of kina.”

Australian Associated Press reported that the NACS had overspent its budget, with millions of kina wasted - most notably on unnecessary travel – as about 2% of PNG’s population became infected with HIV/AIDS.

AAP also had documents outlining abuses by NACS staff.

Sir Peter also said that the government should also shoulder its share of the blame as the NACS had been without a council and substantive director for almost two years.

“The government must also take the responsibility as well,” he said.

“To correct something like this that has been going on for so long is extremely difficult.

“The NACS first met on Dec 15 after almost 18 months without a council. 

“After a close down over Christmas/New Year, a meeting was held last month and the main focus was to get a director appointed to take charge again.

 “The NACS has been without a substantive director for almost two years.  

“We are dealing with alleged corruption along with ways to operate with a 67% reduction in the budget, coupled with the devalued Australian funding.  

“We are making progress towards appointment of a director, along with measures to prevent further wastages of funds.”

Sir Peter said a new director for the NACS should be appointed towards the middle of this month and early next month.

Meanwhile, NACS acting director Romulus Pakure, said in his letter to Sir Peter dated Mar 4 that only 586,064 condoms held in the AusAID/NACS warehouse at Badili had reached expiry date.

“None of these condoms have been purchased by NACS, rather, they are the remainder of inventories that were transferred to NACS following the wind-up of NHASP (support project) or part of a consignment donated in late 2007 which had a relatively short shelf life,” he said.

“It is not known exactly when the NHASP condoms were purchased, however; generally, condoms are supplied with a four to five year shelf life.

“Further, NACS has not purchased any pre-packed condoms that are unsuitable for current dispensing machines.

“Only the Karamap pre-packed condoms which were originally designed for retail vending machines were unsuitable for use in the NACS dispensers.”

No comments:

Post a Comment