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Withdrawal of $38 Million funding from Australia scrutinized

The withdrawal of 38 million Australian dollars or over 80-million kina by the Australian Government in 2013, for the procurement of medical drugs and supplies in Papua New Guinea was the subject of scrutiny today by the Public Accounts Committee or PAC.

Health Secretary Pascoe Kase took the stand.

Chairman Sir John Pundari and his Committee members were told that the withdrawal of this funding was due to the then National Government's awarding of the contract to Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) had earlier contracted the International Dispensary Association (IDA) for the provision of medical drugs and supplies and IDA though bidding again for that contract was unsuccessful.

Mr. Kase was called to explain why IDA was unsuccessful despite being engaged before - to which he responded that it was not certified by the PNG Pharmaceutical Board.

He said Borneo was certified, but didn't meet the 'ISO 9001' - a crucial accreditation for quality management systems that demonstrates that a 'drug is safe and effective.'

The Health Secretary was then called to explain how without this important accreditation, Borneo was awarded the contract.

Kase in response, said the criteria for 'a need to be ISO 9001 certified' was dropped by the Tenders Board Committee at the request of the bidders - he however didn't specify which bidder had requested for that.

The Committee then went on to hear that apart from not being ISO 9001 certified, Borneo Pacific's bid of over K70 million kina was close to K20 million kina more than that of IDA.

The other bidder, Mission Pharma in a joint venture with City Pharmacy Limited who despite being ISO 9001 certified were also unsuccessful.

NBC News / PNG Today

Next :

PAC Inquiry into Bormeo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Limited gets underway

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