TIPNG Rails at Lack of Political Will for Covid-19 Accountability
Tuesday 9th June 2020, Port Moresby – Three days have elapsed since the first opportunity for the Marape-Steven government to fulfil their promise to table a full audited expenditure report on the National COVID-19 State of Emergency (SOE).
With the resumption of Parliament on Tuesday 2nd June, and a further 14-day extension of the SOE, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is now calling on the government to demonstrate the political will required to ensure they keep their promise to be accountable to the people of Papua New Guinea.
In making this call TIPNG also reminds Members of Parliament and the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on the State of Emergency of their duty to ensure the government keeps its promises, and that the COVID-19 SOE Expenditure Report must be tabled before the end of the 14-day emergency SOE extension.
TIPNG Chairman Peter Aitsi, in a statement following the Parliament sitting last week, stated that it was concerning to see the Government defaulting on its promises to uphold transparency and accountability in the SOE process.
“Over the past month leading up to the resumption of parliament last Tuesday, the country was given every reassurance by the Government that it was on track to deliver on its promise to table these reports. The PM and Police Minister reported that they had received all bank statements, and there was a registry of suppliers and procurement contracts issued under the SOE,” said Mr. Aitsi.
“TIPNG is concerned it has been 46 days since the government claimed to have commenced this audit, and to date we have yet to see any such report” he said.
TIPNG has noted the government’s recent efforts to ensure some level of accountability in the SOE, with the addition of a new page on the National Procurement Commission website, which serves as an online portal for all COVID-19 procurement information. However, the formal process of tabling a report in Parliament on COVID-19 expenditure has not been delivered.
“The government’s failure to produce these audited financial reports as they had promised must not be taken lightly, as it represents a violation of the trust of Papua New Guineans who have had to endure the restrictions placed on their civil liberties over the past two months, under this SOE,” Mr. Aitsi said.