ORO Governor Gary Juffa’s efforts to clean up corruption from the province continue with ongoing investigations into fraud.
There have been more arrests of public servants working for the Provincial Administration and Ijivitari Treasury. Police charged Ijivitari district accountant Penny Jiregari with false accounting and Treasury examiner Foster Dira with misappropriation.
The charges flow from allegations that the officers had intentionally made false entries into public documents and dishonestly applied to their own use various amounts of public money.
Police also charged former National Housing Corporation officer Jack Nunisa who is alleged to have fraudulently obtained K13,500 from the Popondetta Urban Local Level Government and Deputy Administrator Kila Sibolo for misappropriation, abuse of office and official corruption.
“The charged public servants will be referred to their respective heads of departments to be suspended without pay a stipulated by the Public Service Management Act,” Governor Juffa said.
Mr Juffa thanked Police for their work and vowed to continue supporting their efforts until all people involved in misuse of public funds were brought to justice.
The charges stem from various audit reports as well as allegations brought to the Governor’s Office by members of the public.
“Substantial fraud has been occurring in Oro blatantly for too long,” Mr Juffa said. “We are talking about monies in the vicinity of millions of kina over a long period of time.
“Fraud is rampant in Oro’s public service. For too long the people’s monies intended for public service programs have been stolen by public servants in positions of trust.
“This would have been prevented if controls were in place, management was actually managing and there was strict adherence to the Finance Management Act and Financial Instructions guiding the expenditure of public funds.
“I will not tolerate such activities under my watch.”
The Governor also instructed the Provincial Administration to cooperate with auditors from the Auditor-General’s Office conducting audits in Oro after discovering that no effort had been made to cooperate and make available information required by Auditors to complete their audits.
“The Auditor General plays an important role ensuring necessary controls are in place to govern the expenditure of public funds that belong to the people,” he said.
“We cannot just sit by and ignore this terrible state of affairs in Papua New Guinea. Fraud is so rampant that it is becoming the norm.
“Police are struggling with resources to effectively investigate numerous cases, the courts cannot process all the cases fast enough and the public are losing confidence in the government systems established to protect their interests.”
Governor Juffa has given law and order priority and since taking office has boosted Police activities with vehicles, allowances and other support services.