by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
Northern Governor Gary Juffa has demanded explanations from Community Development Minister Delilah Gore for using her position to draw funds from the Department of Community Development to sponsor a political upheaval in the province.
Governor Juffa has been presented copies of vouchers indicating that the Department of Community Affairs had paid for accommodation for four Oro LLG Presidents who stayed there for a period of four nights at the expense of the department. The documents showed that the department paid a total of K17,313.48 to Grand Papua Hotel for the four presidents’ accommodation paid on 16 October 2014.
He said the purpose of the presidents travelling to Port Moresby was more political and not related to community development matters.
The presidents for Kira, Afore, Tufi and Oro Bay were accommodated at the Grand Papua at the expense of the department and Papua New Guinean taxpayers allegedly for political reasons. This is in breach of various laws and amounts to misuse of funds. Governor Juffa wants the Minister to explain why her department is funding political upheaval in his province. He has referred the matter to the Police Fraud Squad and the Ombudsman for investigations.
“They can deal with this. Leaders must be responsible in the application of public funds. They are mere custodians as it is not their money to use as they please but in accordance with the laws.” he said.
The governor has also confirmed that reviews of all projects undertaken in the Province were underway so that there can be an accounting of public funds.
He stated that already several incomplete projects were identified such as the K5.5m MV Ijivitari purchased by the member for Ijivitari which had been launched about two years ago but had failed to serve the people of Ijivitari and was instead now rotting away at Oro Bay and collecting algae and barnacles.
The review will also target the Afore High School which still remains unfulfilled although K600,000 in ‘feasibility” studies was paid to a Port Moresby based company that received the funds but had since disappeared to Malaysia. The matter is also subject of a criminal investigation and the governor has urged the police to complete their investigations and not drag on as the people of Afore deserved justice for the misuse of funds, he said.
Mr Juffa said the redevelopment of Popondetta Town Market was allocated K2 million but work done was not equivalent to the amount of money paid. The market still needs more improvement.
The governor has also confirmed that any funds illegally expanded by the JDPBPCs of both districts, whereby proper procurement procedures were ignored would be referred to the authorities for review since the entities were not procurement authorities and not legally authorised to award contracts and jobs to companies of their choice.
Meanwhile, Office of the Minister for Community Development and Sohe MP Delilah Gore confirmed late this afternoon that a news conference regarding the matter is scheduled for tomorrow.