Thursday, July 21, 2011

Opposition backs calls for inquiry

THE opposition wants a commission of inquiry to look into how some government ministers have been setting up business entities using public funds, The National reports.

This included Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal who, they claimed, set up the K5.6 million Wabag District Rural Holdings Ltd, gave K10 million to Eremas Wartoto to start airline company Travel Air and diverted LNG revenue into the Independent Public Business Corporation.

Opposition leader Belden Namah, Moresby Northwest MP Sir Mekere Morauta, Namatanai MP Byron Chan, Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat and Gazelle MP Malakai Tabar said at a media conference an inquiry should look into such dealings.

Namah claimed Abal had deposited K5.6 million of public funds in the new company's account of which he is the main signatory.

He said it was an example of misuse of public funds.

Namah and his colleagues said Abal should support his "year of implementation" policy by setting up the commission to look into his own dealings with Wabag Holdings, Wartoto and the K1.9 billion of development budget paid out in three months.

Sir Mekere claimed these were examples of ways used by ministers to divert public funds into their pockets.

"It is naked and it is stupid." Sir Mekere said.

He said opposition sources in the IPBC and National Planning had found out that more than K10 million was allegedly given to Wartoto by the government.

"The whole nation was told by the treasurer in his budget speech that Air Niugini had been allocated K30 million for re-fleeting.  Has this money been given to Air Niugini?" he asked.

Sir Mekere said it would be wrong if the money was allocated elsewhere. 

"Air Niugini struggles everyday with domestic services because it does not have enough aircraft," he said.

"What is the delay in giving Air Niugini the money it was allocated in the budget?"

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