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Momis reveals tensions in PNG attitude to Bougainville

Hon Dr Chief John MomisTHE PRESIDENT OF THE Autonomous Bougainville Government, John Momis, today welcomed a statement by PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill that the national government remains committed to improving living standards and the business environment on Bougainville through funding impact projects in the Autonomous Region.

But in a lengthy media release, the president also revealed some significant tensions between the two governments and between the ABG and some Bougainville members of the national parliament.

Dr Momis confirmed that the PNG funding commitment was in accordance with an agreement reached in February 2011 on funding K500million from the national government to Bougainville.

He noted that the Bougainville House of Representative is an independent parliament and that it appeared from unilateral actions of the PNG national government that it is seeking to undermine the authority of the House.

He also noted concern that national government agencies were proceeding with projects on Bougainville without consultation with the ABG.

As an example, Dr Momis noted that just this week there had been announcements regarding various projects tendered on behalf of the National Department of Works.

He said the ABG has little confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the Department of Works as it has been known to squander funds earmarked for projects in Bougainville in a less than transparent manner.

One such example was the award of a K20 Million contract for the Kokopau-Siara road which was contracted last year to a firm which has no capacity and which has not yet turned one shovel of earth to commence this project. He said this is shameful and requires a full explanation by the national government.

Dr Momis said he had taken note of concerns expressed by the Deputy Auditor General regarding breaches in audit management letters by the ABG but said he runs an honest, transparent and accountable government.

The matters flagged by the Deputy Auditor General predated 2010 and the ABG had taken definitive steps to clear up these matters and a full report has been provided to the Public Accounts Committee of the Bougainville House of Representatives.

Dr Momis also asked Mr O’Neill not to be misled by some members representing Bougainville in the PNG National Parliament.

He said their intentions were not always honourable or in the best interest of Bougainville and it was sad that they would seek to undermine Bougainville for their own selfish reasons.

Dr Momis said the ABG is committed to working in partnership with the national government to achieve the broad objectives of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and to achieve autonomy for Bougainville.


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Steve W Labuan

Politicians in PNG are the last group of leaders to forget that Bougainville has a special political status.

Parliamentarians must not be illiterate of existing policy statements on how to deal with Bougainville, and the meaning of Autonomous Governments as it is on Bougainville (ABG).

MPs of the former NSP in the PNG national Parliament must not be confused on their statements of representative duties for both the ABG and the PNG Govt.

President Momis's statements here sets out that there is clearly a political entanglement here for the Organic Law on Provincial & Local Level Govts and its associated Acts on autonomous statuses, especially on Bougainville as the first of its kind.

Can we have clarifications by law writers and policy custodians regarding the President's concern on how come there is this loop-hole in the duplication of powers and responsibilities between the autonomy and the PNG Parliament?

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