KUNDIAWA – A controversy surrounding a contract awarded to Yu Yet PNG Ltd, a company associated with Malaysian national and fitness instructor Fazilah Bazari, has been referred to the Ombudsman Commission and police fraud investigators.
The National Capital District contract, in which governor Power Parkop is alleged to be involved, is understood to be worth K250,000 a month for the provision of yoga instruction in the national capital.
Madang MP Bryan Kramer, who has conducted his own inquiries into the contract, said he will this week file a formal complaint with anti-corruption watchdogs against Governor Parkop.
Mr Kramer said that, among stringent regulatory requirements of the PNG Investment Promotion Authority to conduct business in Papua New Guinea, a foreign enterprise must deposit startup capital of no less than K100,000 into a PNG bank account.
According to IPA records obtained by Mr Kramer and widely circulated in social media, Yu Yet PNG Ltd was registered with IPA on 6 June 2015 but did not meet this requirement.
Yu Yet opened opened a bank account on 21 August 2015 with just K5,000 and Ms Bazari had obtained a work permit and Yu Yet was able to conduct business.
By 14 October 2015, Yu Yet PNG bank account balance was K113, 613.50 which were proceeds of three National Capital District cheques totalling K143, 700 deposited between 24 August and 14 October.
If the cheques were for business (yoga classes) then the payments should have been deemed illegal because there was no IPA certification for the company to conduct business in PNG at that time.
The certification for Yu Yet PNG was eventually issued on 21 October 2015.
This chronology of events seems to indicate that NCD may have illegally facilitated a foreign enterprise with NCD taxpayers’ money to obtain IPA certification, and this is the crunch issue raised by Mr Kramer.
Prior to the revelation of this information, Governor Parkop had strongly denied any irregularities in the IPA certification.
“I want to assure everyone that the Minister for Commerce, if you go to IPA, you will find that we didn’t pay for that certification,” Mr Parkop said.
“How can we pay for that certification? We would be stupid to raise public funds to pay for a private certification.”
Mr Parkop offered a defence against the allegations in Parliament on 4 April this year saying there were no irregularities involved in the IPA certification and, despite these facts being brought to his attention by Mr Kramer, the Governor still maintains there were no irregularities and in this has been supported by the Member for Chuave and Minister for Commerce and Trade, Wera Mori.
“I like to dismiss the claims that Yu Yet PNG was operating illegally,” Mr Mori stated.
“Yes, it is a foreign company owned by one shareholder but it has been fully registered and it has met all requirements by IPA to operate.”
Mr Mori reiterated the statement in The National newspaper last week, which drew a backlash from social media users across PNG.
Refuting Mr Mori’s claim, Bryan Kramer said, “A foreign national who stated her job as a fitness instructor, set up a startup company with just K5,000 and relying on NCD ratepayers’ money (K140,000) which generously funded by the Governor of NCD was able to obtain its IPA certificate.
“Yet our confused Minister of Commerce and Industry Wera Mori sees nothing wrong with this,” Mr Kramer argued.
This hot issue that has spanned over many months has attracted a huge number of followers across PNG.
Ordinary Papua New Guineans are never happy when high profile corruption involving millions of kina does not see justice being meted out, and they seem to think this may be another example.
People get fed up when justice is constantly deferred only, in the end, to be dismissed or quashed in what people believe are dubious circumstances.
The whole nation will be keenly watching how this case will be handled if, as expected, it is referred to the Ombudsman Commission and police fraud investigators this week.