PNG Still Committed To Building Chancery In Solomons

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‘Controversial’ project bogged down by funding, vendor issues

By Douglas Marau

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 28, 2012) – It is now more than three years and construction work at the incomplete Papua New Guinea chancery in the Solomon Islands is still put on halt.

Since the construction came to a standstill in July 2009, there have been promises made to get the work back on its feet but to no avail.

The failed project was won by Trans World Construction owned by local businessman Thompson Turueke.

However, after a few months in operation the construction work faced setbacks after workers went on strike following claims there were no money to pay them; work has since been halted.

The controversial project has raised many questions because of the fact that funds for the project were exhausted during the months leading up to the 2010 National Elections.

This has also raised speculations that millions of dollars from the project were used to fund some members of parliament during the national elections.

In September 2010, an angry PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said that funds allocated for the construction of the chancery was remitted to the contractor but the contractor has failed to deliver on the project.

Although both the national government and the PNG government vowed to investigate the matter, there were no reports of any information regarding the investigation.

However, PNG high commissioner to Solomon Islands Brian Yombon-Copio told this paper that the chancery is a priority for the PNG government.

Mr. Yombon-Copio said funds have already been allocated in next year’s budget for the completion of the chancery.

"Funds have been allocated for next year’s budget and hopefully we will do something about it," he said. "It is a priority project for the Peter O’Neill Government."

Meanwhile, concerned PNG citizens in Honiara said it was shameful that PNG nationals here do not have a conducive home in the Solomon Islands.

"It is quite disgraceful when you drive past what should be a state of the art project only to see a ghost area filled with bushes," one individual said.

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