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K34million DSIP fund squandered

TOTAL of K34 million district services improvement program (DSIP) funds earmarked for basic government service delivery to the Ijivitari district in Oro province were misused and squandered.

This development grants both in the form of DSIP and District Support Grants (DSG) has been frontloaded to Ijivitari in the previous term of Parliament by the O’Neill-Deon government, but nothing to show for on the ground.

This was revealed by the newly elected MP for Ijivitari Richard Masere during the presentation of the outstanding DSIP acquittal reports of 2015, 2016 and 2017 to the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) today in Port Moresby.

“The 2015, 2016 and a larger part of the 2017 acquittal reports consists of funds expanded by the previous regime of David Arore, and should have been furnished there and then,” Masere stressed.

He said during the time of compilation of the reports, they have discovered lot of discrepancies, inconsistencies and missing documents.

“However, in order to comply with laws guiding public finances, especially Public Finance Management (Act), we had to work hard overnight in the past weeks to put the papers together,” he said.

The report furnished where for both DSIP and DSG which uncovered an unusually high number of discrepancies with regard to disbursement of funds under different sectors including the use of District Treasury Trust Account and the issue of lack of maintenance of proper records and problems encountered in compiling the reports.

It was also reported that political pressure at that time to expand the DSIP funds for purposes other than what it was intended for by moving funds from one sector to the other to cater for shortfalls resulting in most approved projects not being implemented.

It says project cheques were collected by respective LLG presidents instead of the district works coordinator thus there was a lack of coordination and monitoring.

“Sector coordinators were also unable to provide evaluation reports due to the reason given above, the District treasury were also unable to produce bank statements and bank reconciliation statements compelled with frequent changes to the position of CEO, the deputy District administrator and project coordinators within the past years period that has a detrimental effect on the use of DSIP and DSG in terms of controlling funds especially when taking directives from the DDA Chairman and MP,” the report highlighted.

Mr. Masere elaborated that after the findings of the report and base upon successful satisfactory they will refer any district public servants or individuals involved to be referred to the Ombudsman Commission, Police Fraud Squad or other relevant enforcement agencies for interrogation.

However, Mr. Masere said he will be emphasing his development agenda strongly on tourism and agriculture.

His administration will be embarking on the missing link between Ijivitari and Central, linking Port Moresby.

Five months into office, Mr. Masere is also happy to report the working progress of the emergency road between Sewa to Popondetta, and the tourism corridor between Buna, Keleton to Popondetta.

DIRD Acting Secretary Aihi Vaki said Ijivitari is one of the problem district in the Southern Regions.

Vaki admitted that the district was in chaos, there may be some projects and programs implemented but not to that full scale implementation.
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