Public Accounts Committee issues reminder to KPHL

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has issued a reminder to the Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited that they manage monies belonging to the State and its people.

Chairman Sir John Pundari made the statement in response to KPHL saying their finances and books do not qualify as ‘public accounts of the State’.

The board of PNG’s national oil and gas company did not take too kindly to a statement made by Sir John in the media.

Sir John recently expressed the Public Accounts Committee’s intention to hold an inquiry into the operations of KPHL, which prompted a response from the Chairman of Kumul Petroleum Board of Directors, Andrew Baing, who said “Kumul Petroleum is a Government Business governed by its own legislations and it does not subject itself to the Public Finance Management Act”.

Sir John, in response, says the Public Accounts Committee has its mandate from the constitution and is an extension of parliamentary sittings.

“We are not going to deny justice that is due to our people,” said Sir John. “For a long time, injustice has been prevalent in this country and the Public Accounts Committee, as a representative and subordinate of the people of this country, we are going to be relentless in ensuring that we work to the last sitting day of parliament, that institutions and organisations and corporations, like the Kumul Petroleum Holdings, account to the people of this country.

“They are just like a real estate agency, for that matter; they collect rent for properties that don’t belong to them. And the rental monies that they collect, and they use, are not their money. And the owners of those monies want information, you don’t have the right to deny them that information.”

Sir John once again calls on KPHL to provide the committee the information that they want.

“Failing that, we will have no choice as a committee to summon the board members as well as the CEO of Kumul Petroleum Holdings, to come before the committee.”

A notice to produce was served on KPHL on the 10th of July, where they were given a three-week period to respond. That deadline lapsed on the 24th of July.

Meantime, in the next 13 days, notices will be issued to the following state agencies, state-owned enterprises and private entities that deal with public money:

  • Mineral Resources Development Company
  • Mineral Resources Authority
  • Tourism Promotion Authority
  • National Gaming Control Board
  • Health Department and Borneo Pacific Pharmaceutical Limited – drug supply contract
  • Department of Education – Free Tuition Fees
  • National Housing Corporation – Durand Farm Housing Project
  • National Museum and Art Gallery – Sale of Old Parliament House
  • Bank South Pacific Ltd – K200 million public-housing support
  • National Disaster Fund funds – Earthquake relief funds
  • And others

(Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Sir John Pundari)

Carmella Gware