Opposition calls for tax explanation

Opposition Leader, Patrick Pruaitch has called on Kumul Petroleum Managing Director Wapu Sonk to provide factual data on the massive tax difference between the company’s audited and declared tax received by the Internal Revenue Commission.

Mr Pruaitch said the public is entitled to facts and not rhetoric explaining why Kumul’s tax figure for 2014 alone was much higher than the total tax paid by Kumul Petroleum for the three years to 2016.

The Opposition leader said the Internal Revenue Commission records released in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) annual reports show that the total tax paid to IRC by Kumul Petroleum in 2014, 2015 and 2016 was only K127.5 million, or K115 million less than what was due in 2014.

Pruaitch claimed that there is a clear shortfall of K450 million in taxes that should have been paid for the 2014 and 2015 calendar years.

He further stressed that as a State-Owned Enterprise, PNG citizens expect Kumul Petroleum to publish transparent accounts, particularly with regard to the 19.6% equity stake in the PNG LNG Project.

However, Kumul Petroleum Managing Director Wapu Sonk brushed aside Pruaitch’s claims saying the “Tax Expense” figures quoted are correct and were reflected in the Financial Statements of the group in 2014 and 2015, which were prepared and audited in accordance with international accounting and auditing standards by Ernst & Young and certified by the Auditor General office (AGO).

He explained that under the IFRS rules and standards, all tax expenses are recognised at the time they arise regardless of when they are due for payment.

He added that KPHL has lodged all Tax Returns for all controlled entities in an accurate and timely fashion and has remitted all taxes payable before each due date.

Mr Sonk urged the Opposition leader to confirm with the IRC or check with the Office of the Auditor General to verify the Audited accounts.

Freddy Mou