OC accuses Temu, Kali of ‘wrongful conduct’

The Ombudsman Commission Report recently published has accused former Minister for Public Services, Sir Puka Temu, and former secretary for Public Management, John Kali, of ‘wrongful conduct’ in office.

The Ombudsman Commission Report titled: “Investigation into alleged improper decision by the Government Office Allocation Committee to engage Central Land Ltd to build a 32-storey Government office complex at Waigani Central in the National Capital District”, stated that both leaders had breached Section 39 and 40 of the Public Finances (Management) Act, 1995 and Part 13, of the Financial Manual.

The Ombudsman Commission findings stemmed from an alleged 10-year Build-Operate-Lease-Transfer (BOLT) agreement, where the National Government would have agreed to pay K981.79 million annually for Government accommodation it planned to build.

Among its recommendations, the Ombudsman urged Sir Puka to inform the National Executive Council that no agreement has been executed and the NEC revoke its earlier decision for the State Solicitor to finalise a leasing agreement to be signed by DPM and Central Lands Ltd.

Meantime, Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch has released a statement claiming that the K9.8 billion BOLT deal over a ten-year period would have impacted the Government’s debt management strategies and burdened this and future generations through entrenched economic mismanagement.

He said the real losses built into such a lease totally overshadow the huge loss suffered when the PNG Government borrowed A$1.26 billion from UBS, a Swiss Bank, for purchases of Oil Search shares.

 “This transaction is understood to have involved losses amounting to at least K1 billion.”

Pruaitch said Prime Minister Peter O'Neill promised last year to release details of Government's Oil Search transaction but has failed to do so.

He added that these details were to have been released by Kumul Petroleum, which was not a party to the initial transaction costs for the UBS Loan.

Freddy Mou