Governor alleges misapplication of disaster funds

Hela Governor Philip Undialu has raised concerns on the alleged misapplication of disaster funds to address the impact of the 2018 earthquake in Hela.

Governor Undialu said it has been a year already and money received to assist those affected in his province has not reached them.

He blamed Treasury, Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office for the alleged misused of disaster funds.

He claimed that the US$50 million (K159.34m) World Bank loan obtained for last year’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake has been misapplied by Government, including K106 million from donations.

Governor Undialu has called on the World Bank to recall its US$50m loan and hold the Government accountable for this.

He said one year has passed and the blame game between Treasury, Finance and the Prime Minister’s office must stop.

After a meeting with the Prime Minister and Governor Undialu, the Finance Secretary was asked to open a Trust Account with Hela Provincial Administrator to counter sign, but that trust account was never opened.

Undialu also stated the K450 million promised by the Government for restoration work over a period of three years has not been allocated in the 2019 budget.

To date, Hela Provincial Government has received K1.5 million.

Meantime, Emergency Controller, Dr Bill Hamblin, confirmed via email correspondence that the US$50m from the World Bank was not transferred to the Emergency Trust Account by Treasury. 

He stated that the Treasurer has indicated that funds will be transferred this week.

(Filepic of some of the damages suffered during the February 2018 earthquake)

Freddy Mou