Morobe’s Provincial Treasury in Lae has refused to pay one hundred and thirty-eight thousand kina in sitting allowances to a controversial Debt Service Committee.
The payment was approved by the Morobe Provincial Executive Council as sitting allowance for the Debt Service Committee Members for 2020.
Provincial Treasurer, Andrew Namuesh refused to release the payment.
The committee was established by the Provincial Government and approved by the Provincial Executive Council in 2019 to identify debts owed by service providers and pay them. According to documents obtained by EMTV news, K250,000 was paid to the committee members as sitting allowances.
The members include;
1. A Provincial Political Head who paid himself K15, 000
2. Two Deputy PAs who received K10, 000 each,
3. Two Female Senior Officers who were paid K15, 000 each
4. Three Officers on the Secretariat who paid themselves K10, 000 each
5. Two Senior Officers received K5, 000.
6. An officer from the PSIP section paid himself K60, 000 – K10, 000 being on the committee as Secretary and K50, 000 for a special case and
7. Police Officers involved also received K20, 000.
Namuesh said it’s against the public finance management act to get extra allowances whilst working during the official hours. He said they could only claim overtime.
Earlier in 2019, Morobe’s Provincial Executive Council approved an investigation at a cost of K1.5 million to look into claims by service providers from 2012 to 2017.
The claims totalled K44 million and the investigation was led by former Judge, Don Sawong and Gamoga Lawyers.
Without receiving a report from the investigation, the PEC established the debt service Committee whose job, according to the committee’s name, is to identify debts owed by contractors and service providers and pay them.
The Provincial Treasurer says Morobe Province is the only province that has a debt servicing committee.
Namuesh has called on the PEC to abolish the debt service committee, as it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.