PNG MPs Failed To Acquit Funds

Secretary for the Department of Development: 'in terms of keeping records, there’s been non-compliance…it is not the political leader’s job nor fault, this is the responsibility of the administrators and public servants, who are failing their leaders

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 17, 2017) – Members of Parliament have largely failed to acquit massive expenditure of DSIP and PSIP funds with official records showing a sharp decline in accountability on their part.

In 2013, 95 MPs acquitted, in 2014 only 50, in 2015 30 MPs presented their reports and last year only 11 MPs presented their acquittals.

However, acting Secretary for the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) Aihi Vaki has defended them saying “it is not the political leaders’ job” instead shifting the blame to administrators and public servants who are failing their leaders.

Mr Vaki’s defence was during Finance Minister James Marape’s official visit to the DIRD office which comes under his responsibility, where he was formally welcomed.

Mr Marape did not make any specific commitments on how to tackle the problem, but mentioned the

“Last four years, we’ve transferred K890million [US$275M] to all the districts right across the country unfailingly and that equates to K3.7 billion [US$1.14B] from Waigani to the districts right across the country.

“Someone needs to tell the nation that these monies have been put to good use, and I think that is where the joint function of Finance and DIRD come in.

“We can not only sit back and receive acquittals, but we must get out there and confirm that the acquittals are in order, that there are correct acquittals made and that monies transferred from the Central Government to those sub-national governments are being put to good use,” Mr Marape said.

Mr Vaki said the DSIP and PSIP programs were appropriate because of what was happening at the district level.

“In terms of keeping records, there’s been non-compliance…it is not the political leader’s job nor fault, this is the responsibility of the administrators and public servants, who are failing their leaders,” Mr Vaki said.

“This DSIP/PSIP is a very good program.

“There’s so much happening at the district level. It is some who are abusing the system and public administrators who are not acquitting.Mr Marape said starting next year, disbursement of funds will strictly be done on proper acquittals and audits.

“We will make the provision in the guidelines that next year’s allocation is based on your acquittals, that must come in,” Mr Marape said.

“Acquittals must come in by March 31. Under provisions of PFMA preceding fiscal year, acquittals must come in from districts.

Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan said publicity of expenditure will be undertaken every six months “and then they can best charge who is corrupt… it is very unfair, and the only thing we can do is to publish so the public can see.”

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