A letter to the prime minister about the women’s cancer ward
Cross the APEC bridge

Call for transparency in government's luxury car deals

Lawrence Stephens
Lawrence Stephens - head of Transparency PNG wants government to come clean on APEC luxury car deals

STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand

PORT MORESBY - Transparency International in Papua New Guinea has urged the O’Neill government to come clean on how it procured a batch of luxury vehicles for the APEC summit.

There's been a public outcry over the government's purchase of 40 Maserati cars and other luxury vehicles to use for transporting leaders at next month's summit.

The government says the vehicles have been committed to eventually be paid for by the private sector at no cost to the state.

Transparency's chairman Lawrence Stephens said the government had failed to reveal procurement documents, let alone a list of private sector entities willing to purchase the vehicles.

"We really do need to know what happened," he said.

"It'd be nice to hear them agree on the story at least, perhaps give details on how it is these vehicles were so necessary, and assurances that the ongoing sale of the vehicles is managed openly and honestly."

Mr Stephens said that at a time of shortages of medical supplies in PNG's hospitals, the extravagant purchase of batches of luxury cars was vexing.

"When I saw these very expensive vehicles being offloaded from a jumbo jet, which is clearly a jet normally used to carry medicines to countries around the world, it just struck me as being... how sad," Mr Stephens said.

"They do look ridiculous," he added, "we don't have roads that these vehicles can ride on readily."

An invoice related to the purchase for US$6,357,684 was submitted to PNG's government from a Sri Lanka-based auto spare parts and sales company, Ideal Choices.

"It does seem like an incredible amount of money to be spent so freely. It does seem yet again that the people involved may not have gone through due proesses," Mr Stephens said.

Putting the value of each car at a little over US$100,000, APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko said the Maseratis were being paid for with "no overall cost to the state".

"Having vehicles paid for by the private sector is the smartest way to have use of the vehicles for APEC at no overall cost to the State," the minister said.

But Mr Stephens said he doubted the government's statements that it would be able to recover the costs by on-selling the vehicles after APEC.

Papua New Guinea is relying on assistance from Australia, China, New Zealand, the USA, Japan, Canada, Indonesia and Korea to host APEC.

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Arthur Williams

You felt sad, Lawrence, but imagine how the women felt seeing those gleaming white cars coming to the city where they lying dying from cancer in the hospital.

Or the weary folk of Orokolo walking the overgrown bush track of what was once a road to Ihu government station.

The frustrated citizens of Wasu looking at the broken concrete of their Kiari Bridge in Tawae-Siassi.

PNG citizens warily treading the slats of their footbridge in the polluted Lai River valley which leads to Mil-Werip or Pinj from Mendi.

The mother and children crossing Mausbox foot bridge in rural Wau-Bulolo. Made from jungle sticks and WW2 Marsden matting – a sad testimony to 89 years of gold mining in the area.
The hard working unpaid LOs chopping logs on the Magi Highway to try and make their Doma to Cloudy Bay road passable.
Passengers on their PMV looking over the side to the drop into the Hau Creek on the Ramu Madang Highway, similarly at Mata in Chimbu.

Travellers getting muddied as they struggle to push even a 4-wheel drive out of pig-wallow once their road in Okapa.

The 5,000 citizens live along Raniolo Rd in rural ENB they not only have no maintained road but survive with no water and no electricity.

We know the leaders are not illiterate so perhaps they have decided not to read the two daily newspapers of PNG with such obviously ‘fake news’ or ‘fake pictures’ submitted by Oh’Neill critics.

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