K38 million Maserati purchase made through Sri Lanka ‘backyard firm'. Bryan Kramer slams O'Neill govt & demands it ‘come clean’
PORT MORESBY – Prominent Papua New Guinea Opposition MP and Member for Madang Bryan Kramer has slammed APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko for the purchase of 40 luxury Maserati sedans, which he says would retail in PNG for at least $400,000 (K950,000) each taking into account excise duty, clearance and freight.
And he's in possession of what he says is a leaked pro forma invoice (right) to back him up.
The cars will be used to ferry world leaders attending the APEC leaders’ summit that PNG will be hosting in Port Moresby next month.
“While the country faces a polio outbreak, failing health and education systems, systemic corruption, and escalating law and order issues, prime minister O’Neill appears to be more concerned about impressing world leaders,” Kramer said in a statement.
“The bottom line is, we cannot afford to be this extravagant. Our country is broke and the O’Neill government continues to be irresponsible and reckless.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, Tkatchenko said, “Maserati Quattroporte sedans have been secured and delivered and are being committed to be paid for by the private sector.”
But Kramer says that, if the vehicles have been bought by the private sector without any cost to the government, the sale is illegal.
“The Public Finance Management Act requires any State assets to be acquired or disposed of by calling for public tender,” he said. “The question is: when was the public tender called?”
Kramer says he has obtained documents including an invoice issued by Ideal Choice (Private) Ltd and addressed to APEC CEO, Christopher Hawkins.
The pro forma invoice, dated 31 August 2018, is for US$5 million (K16.7 million) for “40 units of brand new MY 19 Quattroporte Diesel, Granlusso-3.0L V6 Diesel Engine 275, HP [high performance] Acceleration”.
The payment terms on the invoice included a 35% non-refundable advance with the balance payable after 30 days. The airfreight charge of US$1,352,800 (K4.5 million) was 100% non-refundable in advance with insurance costing US$4,884. The total invoice amount came to US$6,357,684 (K21.3 million).
Ideal Choice (Private) Ltd is a auto spare parts and sales company based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
“The Italian automobile manufacturer must now come out publicly to explain why they agreed to sell 40 Maseratis destined for PNG APEC to a small dealership based in Colombo, Sir Lanka,” said Mr Kramer.
"Further, I just can’t see world leaders agreeing to be ferried in luxury vehicles that appear to be procured through a small backyard dealership.”
Mr Kramer demanded that the O’Neill government “come clean on how the purchases were made and who in the private sector have committed to purchase these vehicles after the final APEC meetings”.