Port Moresby, 18th October 2018 – The only way to stop allegations of corruption is to be honest and transparent in procurement processes, says Transparency International PNG (TIPNG). In a media statement TIPNG is calling for the Government and APEC Authority to publicly disclose the total cost involved in the purchase of the Maserati and Bentley vehicles and to demonstrate their compliance with public procurement processes.
TIPNG said this in response to public condemnation of the purchase of 40 Maserati sports cars which were delivered last week and other luxury vehicles. Justin Tkatchenko MP, the Minister responsible for APEC, revealed that the government had procured the luxury cars on the expectation that they would be later sold to the private sector after the November APEC Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby.
“We have heard only vehement denials of corruption by the Government and the APEC Authority, but they have not been forthcoming with procurement documents, such as an invitation for bids or receipts of purchase, let alone a list of private sector entities willing to purchase the vehicles. It is therefore not surprising that the public are suspicious of these purchases” said the Board of TIPNG.
“To assuage these legitimate concerns, the Government, particularly the APEC Ministry and the Department of Finance, must publicly release these procurement documents, otherwise it may be necessary for the relevant agencies such as the Police or Ombudsman Commission to compel them to do so by investigating the matter.”
The Government recently passed the National Procurement Act as part of its Alotau II Accord commitments along with a spate of recent Public Finance reform legislation, which was intended to strengthen public trust in Procurement. However it is difficult to see how the general public can have confidence in a system which, in the absence of transparency, is so readily made to support what are seen to be impulsive and extravagant purchases by state entities in the face of declining service delivery, a depressed economy and severe hardships being faced by the ordinary Papua New Guinean.
Port Moresby, 18th October 2018 – TIPNG commends the Minister for National Planning, Hon Richard Maru, for taking steps to restore the integrity of the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the National Identity (NID) project.
This follows the suspension of former head of NSO, Mr Roko Koloma, and the establishment of an investigation team into the NID project.
In welcoming these positive steps taken by the Minister, TIPNG strongly feels that there is still much to be concerned about in terms of public interest and accountability of public funds apparently splurged on this project
The NID project was launched in November 2014 and was envisioned to become a universal ID card for all Papua New Guinean citizens. Over K200m was allocated for this NID project to be rolled out nationwide.
Instead, there have been allegations of mismanagement levelled against agencies responsible for NID, and numerous complaints by citizens throughout PNG on the inefficient and sloppy service by the Office of Civil Registry.
TIPNG calls on the appointed NID investigative team to carry out their duties thoroughly and with urgency and to furnish a full report to the public.