Once upon a time in the Pacific
What should be the values of the people running PNG?

Transparency demands full disclosure of APEC vehicle purchases

Bentley
Three Bentleys, 40 Maseratis and many luxury SUVs are said to have been purchased for the 3-day APEC forum in Port Moresby

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea chapter of Transparency International (TIPNG) has said the only way to stop allegations of corruption is for the government to be honest and transparent in its procurement processes.

Late yesterday TIPNG called for the government and the APEC Authority to publicly disclose the total cost involved in the purchase and import of 40 Maserati and three Bentley sedans and other luxury vehicles which generated controversy in PNG and internationally this week after it was estimated the purchases amounted to at least 40 million kina.

The organisation also said that the government needs to demonstrate that it had complied with public procurement processes.

APEC minister Justin Tkatchenko MP said the government had procured the vehicles in the expectation they would be later sold to private sector buyers after next month’s APEC leaders’ forum in the national capital.

“We have heard only vehement denials of corruption by the government and the APEC Authority, but they have not been forthcoming with procurement documents, such as an invitation for bids or receipts of purchase, let alone a list of private sector entities willing to purchase the vehicles,” the TIPNG board said in a statement.

“It is therefore not surprising that the public is suspicious of these purchases.

“To assuage these legitimate concerns, the government, particularly the APEC ministry and the Department of Finance, must publicly release these procurement documents, otherwise it may be necessary for the relevant agencies such as the Police or Ombudsman Commission to compel them to do so by investigating the matter.”

The statement said that the Government had recently passed the National Procurement Act along with other recent public finance reform legislation which was intended to strengthen public trust in procurement.

“However it is difficult to see how the general public can have confidence in a system which, in the absence of transparency, is so readily made to support what are seen to be impulsive and extravagant purchases by state entities,” the statement said.

It added that this was especially so “in the face of declining service delivery, a depressed economy and severe hardships being faced by ordinary Papua New Guineans”.

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