PNG AGRICULTURE MINISTER SAYS $36 MILLION

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MISSING
None of allocation reached farmers

By Pearson Kolo PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 11, 2010) – A TOTAL of PGK100 million [US$36.4 million] allocated for agriculture projects in the country had been misused between 2008 and 2009.

Agriculture Minister John Hickey said this in Parliament yesterday and stressed that not even a single toea was used by the Agriculture Department to implement tangible agriculture projects and developments in the country.

Minister Hickey said the money was to fund agriculture projects under the national agriculture development program.

"But there were many false claims and the administrations of the funds were very fraudulent," Minister Hickey said. "The funds were meant to assist local farmers in the country through the national agriculture development program but we the Department (of Agriculture) never got a single toea out of it."

Mr Hickey said there were coffee farmers, cocoa, copra, oil palm and other subsistence farmers who could have benefited from the funds.

"But it was not the case when false claims were put in and the funds were fraudulently taken and misused," Minister Hickey said.

He revealed that some of the money was given to the Department of Works but Works Minister Don Polye denied this, saying his department never received any money from the Agriculture Department.

PNG Post-Courier

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