Gamato released misleading statement: Ngangan

The Department of Finance did not divert K20 million allocated for the 2017 National Elections to the Government free education policy, says Dr Ken Ngangan.

The Finance Secretary said the media statement released by Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato was misleading.

“The statement is made with complete ignorance of the government’s budget management processes which are embedded in law,” Dr Ngangan said.  

“It is not in law to randomly transfer funds from one appropriation to another and there is an established process to do that. Both TFF and Electoral Commissions are high priority funding for the government this year.

“Let me clarify the issue on the K40 million warrant issued to PNG Electoral Commission. When a warrant is issued, there is no way the funds will be diverted. Any diversion will be deemed as a total outright breach of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) and the Appropriation Act.”

Dr Ngangan said the remaining balance will be paid in the coming weeks.

“Due to the low cash inflows in the first quarter of every year, cash disbursements are broken down into instalments.

“In the case of Electoral Commission, the first transfer of K20 million was done on 1st February 2017. The remaining balance of K20m from this warrant will be disbursed over the coming weeks,” the Finance Secretary said.

Commissioner Gamato said for the K40 million allocated for election preparation, K20 million was removed.

He said the funds removed were money earmarked for the purchase of big ticket items, such as ballot boxes, security plastic seals, indelible ink, voting compartments, stationary and T-shirts for polling and counting officials.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Don Polye cautioned the government to fund the 2017 National Election adequately.

“When preparation is not in order (and) Government does not adequately fund the election (preparations) that is the first step in rigging elections, deliberately.     

“And I call on the prime minister to give priority to running the elections,” Polye said. 

Charles Yapumi