Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Polye vows to find ‘missing’ K129 million

TREASURY Minister Don Polye yesterday promised an investigation into the disbursement of K129 million in landowner funds outside government approved processes, The National reports.
 Polye, who had the Finance portfolio stripped from him yesterday, said in a statement that since 2010, the government had placed aside K120 million a year under infrastructure development grants or a total K360 million to date. But K129 million has been paid, without sanction, by the expenditure implementation committee or central supply and tenders board.
“This is unlawful and will be investigated,” he said.
The government is con­tracted with landow­ners, provincial governments and local level governments impacted by the PNG LNG project to provide K1.2 billion over 10 years for new infrastructure and maintenance or rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.
These project grants were for infrastructure and not to be handed out in cash to landowners, the minister said.
The EIC is to process and implement the IDG projects, specifically to fund infrastructure in the four affected pro­vinces – Southern Highlands, Central, Gulf
and Western.
Polye said ministers, department secretaries, provincial governors and provincial administrators did not have any authority to pick the projects for these funds to be expended on.
That is the job of the EIC which is the sole authority charged with this responsibility.
The EIC is made up of the secretaries of National Planning and Monitoring, Petroleum and Energy, Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs, Works, affected provincial administrators and the project deve­loper.
All projects approved by the EIC that were in excess of K300,000 would need central supply and tenders board approval to comply with the Public Finances Management act, Polye said.
“IDG is not a cash benefit. I implore landow­ners to respect our laws and the UBSA which their representatives sign­ed and not to coerce the national government into doing illegal things by physical threats,” he said.
“We need to break with the past. K129 million has already been released from the IDG funds but no infrastructure has been delivered.
“This is wrong both in law and importantly, for me, morally.

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