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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 11, 1997 - Niuswire/Post Courier)---A $1.8 million World Bank loan to update Papua New Guinea's National Housing Commission information systems has "disappeared" with nothing to show for it, according to well-placed sources within the corporation.

Documents obtained by the Post-Courier newspaper and reported today indicate that almost $323,000 was spent on computer hardware and other equipment from 1993 to last year, but the equipment is not in any of the corporation's offices and the information systems have not been changed.

As for the remaining $1.4 million, sources say there are no documents to indicate how it was spent and it has simply "disappeared without trace."

The World Bank funding for the project terminated last year.

The corporation obtained the funding with the aim of updating its information systems to ensure that data on all corporation assets and properties were updated and better managed, to prepare the organization for corporatization.

Documents reveal that a total of 33 desktop computers and 19 "notebook" computers were bought for 17 NHC branches throughout the country.

But reliable sources say absolutely none of the equipment can be found in any of the offices.

According to the sources, the project should have been tendered in line with the Public Finances Management Act because it involved so much money, and should have been approved by cabinet following a submission from the minister responsible.

This procedure was not followed, however, and the equipment was bought "at random" without proper approval.

Title -- 1010 ECONOMY: World Bank millions missing 'without trace' Date -- 11 November 1997 Byline -- Brian Tobia Origin -- Niuswire ( Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 11/11/97 Copyright -- Post-Courier Status -- Abridged

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