PISTOL AND $2 MILLION CHECK GO MISSING IN PNG

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 17) - The pistol that sent shock waves through Papua New Guinea and internationally has gone missing. Similarly, a cheque for K7 million (US$2.1 million) has also gone missing from a major government department. Some other important things connected with the State have also gone missing — over the years.

The pistol went missing from the vehicle of a man who should never have taken custody of it. The pistol should have been in police custody as an exhibit for Court hearings into circumstances surrounding the presence of the pistol on board an Air Niugini international flight to Singapore.

Why did the police not confiscate the pistol when they first knew of the incident on the flight?

A major security breach has been committed and our police did not see the urgency of confiscating the pistol in question? Where is this country’s commitment to fighting terrorism and improving aviation security?

Who is going to tell the public what has happened with the pistol? Has it been found yet?

What about the check of K6,958,926,58 — the Moran development levy paid by Oil Search Ltd on February 12 to the Department of Petroleum and Energy. It is alleged that the cheque was collected and has since been cashed.

No response has so far been given as to how it happened, who was involved and what action — if any — has been taken on it.

This matter cannot be swept under the carpet. The amount involved is very large and the public have a right to know how a check for such a large amount of amount can simply disappear, let alone being cashed by a bank. The Public Accounts Committee is aware of this matter and we hope the committee will investigate it. Equally important, we hope police will tell us what has happened to the missing pistol.

Far too many valuable assets of State are being left in vehicles driven by very important people and then "disappearing" without trace. These two situations — as separate as they are — again raise more questions about accountability and responsibility within our departments and institutions.

May 17, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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