PNG Government Denies Claims Of MP Payouts On Eve Of Vote

Amidst media claims district service improvement funds were disguised bribes

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 25, 2016) – The office of Papua New Guinea's prime minister has denied that MPs who committed to Peter O'Neill in the vote of no-confidence last week received lofty payouts.

This came after media reports citing sources revealing the government ordered a payment of US$900,000 to each government MP ahead of the vote in the guise of district service improvement programme, or DSIP, funds.

However a spokesman for PNG's prime minister said he understands that US$34 million was drawn, and that the money is for disbursement to each district and province in PNG.

That breaks down to a little over US$300-thousand for each MP's electorate or district.

However the spokesman said this disbursment is part of a regular process, where the money is specifically targeted and accounted for by people at local level.

The government edthe opposition had been making misleading claims about the use of district funds.

The opposition had also come in for criticism by the Mineral Resources Development Company which has slammed allegations that state funds were used to facilitate the government's camp in Alotau last wek for coalition discussions ahead of the vote.

The MRDC is a state-run body tasked with managing the landowner equity interests in PNG's mining and petroleum projects.

The board of MRDC told PNG Loop it"rejects outright the allegations made against the office of the managing director which are baseless and devoid of any truth".

Radio New Zealand International
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