Senior Minister in claims of K46.6 million land purchase, House told

Parliament was informed that a sum of K46.6 million was paid to a company with links to a senior minister in the O’Neill- Dion Government for the purchase of land to relocate the PNGDF Naval Base from Fairfax Harbour.

“I have in my possession information, Mr Prime Minister which connects your Minister for State Enterprise (Minister Public Enterprise & State Investment), Hon William Duma, (and) Member for Hagen to the sale of K46.6 million of this land at Manumanu where it is 10km inland and I do not understand how you will build a wharf,” Peoples Progress Party leader Ben Micah told Parliament.   

The local Kavieng MP said the company, that the public money was paid to, is Kurukaram and is the name of a river which is from the Minister’s village and the postal address of the company is the same as the Minister’s company.  

The former minister responsible for Minister Public Enterprise & State Investment was interrupted with a Point of Order from Leader of Government Business and Finance Minister James Marape to stop name calling. 

“He must not call names of people who are not on the floor to defend themselves,” Marape said.  

Micah continued to direct his Questions without Notice to the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill asking him of the actions he will take, and also if there will be a Commission of Inquiry into the transactions. 

“Is it a fraudulent sale per advice from Kumul Consolidated Holdings chairman, no title had been transferred amounting to fraud,” Micah said.    

“Are you going to discipline the Minister and when, and are you going to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate this Minister, other ministers and board members of state-owned companies?  

“This money was paid in two instalments, first on 14 Oct and 26 Oct to K46.6 million, I understand Prime Minister you have given instruction to Kina Bank to freeze this account but I know K15 million has already been spent, and I know where some of it went.

Prime Minister O’Neill in response said he will wait for the completion of the investigation before advising the people of Papua New Guinea of the actions he will take.

“Mr, Deputy Speaker I am aware of this transactions that have taken place, our intention was to try and relocate the Naval Base to a new place where the former minister have allude to so we can be able to rebuild the former wharf area,”  O’Neill said.

“On the transaction itself, I was notified by the chairman of Kumul Consolidated Holdings that he was concerned that large transactions of funds were coming out of that company account during the Christmas and New Year period.

“This was done outside Cabinet approval, Cabinet has not visibility on this, and I immediately advised Chief Secretary that he should write to the bank to put a stop to it while we take a stock of what is going on.

“That investigation is going on today, we have frozen the account as stated but the early payment had been made.

“Before I make decisions I want full information from the transaction and I have already advised the Chief Secretary and Police Commissioner to investigate,” O’Neill told Parliament.   

National Party leader and Sinesine-Yongomugl MP, Kerenga Kua made appoint of order and challenged the Prime Minister to suspend the Minister for State Enterprise and Defence and refer them to appropriate authorities for investigations.

But the Prime Minister said he will wait for facts of the investigation currently conducted before making a decision.

The land in question is located in the Kairuku- Hiri Electorate of Central Province.

Caption: Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Parliament today. Picture by Kennedy Bani.  

Charles Yapumi