Resigned members of the Central Islands Province Public Accounts Committee (PPAC) have given nine reasons for boycotting the PPAC resulting in the province losing 60% of its capital PCDF funding from the government.
Premier Stanley Manetiva said his office was appalled by the outcome by not having the Appropriation Budget Estimates for 2022/2023 financial year thru PPAC for reasons as stated on their resignation letters ONLY.
But today, the MPAs’ hit back at the premier and his executive, outlining nine points why they resigned claiming widespread corruption in the provincial government and its administration.
Chairman of PPAC Polycarp Galaigu who was amongst the five reigned MPAs said their resignation was based on these key areas that they believed were breached including all the guiding policies, orders and ordinances in which the province is operating on. He added even though those issues were repeated in nearly every PPAC meetings and Assembly meetings since 2019.
Galaigu said the issue to solve the PPAC grievances that led to their resignation should already been resolved had the premier himself listened to the Speakers Office and humbly handle the situation in an amicable way. “But instead he was too emotional to listen to advises, and to the extent harshly approached everyone that wanted to help in solving the issue once and for all, resulting in the none passing of the budget,” he said.
The resigned MPAs’ are: Galaigu MPA Ward 8 North West Ngella, Hon Kenneth Sagupari MPA Ward 2 Central West Ngella- Vice Chairman, Hon James Kaka MPA Ward 1 Sandfly Bonevesta- Member, Hon Jay Rotaua MPA Ward 10 Pavuvu.
The MPAs’ had put forward their submissions to the province and the government as to why they boycotted the PPAC. Below are their 9 points in detail:
The Chairman in response on behalf of the PPAC members first of all acknowledge the Hon Premier of Central Province for informing the Province of the very reasons why the budget didn’t pass but it will be more interesting to hear the root cause of why the PPAC didn’t convene the PPAC meeting required under the Order for the people of CENTRAL Province to know the type of government leadership their Province have in this 11th Assembly.
First of all, we the resigned PPAC of CENTRAL Province ( Hon Polycarp Galaigu MPA Ward 8 North West Ngella- Chairman, Hon Kenneth Sagupari MPA Ward 2 CENTRAL West Ngella- Vice Chairman, Hon James Kaka MPA Ward 1 Sandfly Bonevesta- Member, Hon Jay Rotaua MPA Ward 10 Pavuvu), regret to inform the Province at large to see us as the cause of the none passing of the Provincial budget and the claimed budget by the Premier as the budget of the people, but we have to look at both sides of the story before we could have a harmonize conclusion, hence as PPAC resigned members and elected leaders of our province and people we wanted to clear our side on the very reasons of our resignation.
Section 199 – 214 of the Order fully covered PPAC formation, Powers, functions and other areas related for fully functioning of the province that needs to be respected as the Mandated Committee of the Provincial Assembly, and the Provincial budget to be passed is legally required to go true the scrutinizing of this Committee. Public Accounts Committee step taken resulting of the none passing of the budget and losing of PCDF 60% estimated around $3m is seen by the current ruling government as hijacked, but let me assure the province and our people that we believe that this step is necessary in order to put the province in the right direction and set a precedence not to go again in this path.
As resigned PPAC of the Provincial Assembly we want to say to the people of Central Province that our resignation is just the tip of the Iceberg but there is a lot going on in the province that people needs to know even though we term in the report as position Number (1) and only time will tell the manifestation of those things going on in the province as it said in the Bible “what’s hidden in the dark will one-day show in the light “.
First, our resignation is based on these key areas and we see it breaches almost all the guiding policies, orders and ordinance in which the province is operating even though those issues repeatedly in almost every PPAC meetings and Assembly meetings since 2019 till now and become evident to us as executives and administration issues of serious considerations but miserably fail over and over again, and these are; Development Budget issues, Procurement issues and PPAC SO mandate.
- Unfair distribution of PCDF projects of the 13 Wards of Central Province.
The truth is that all the PPAC members and the non executive members didn’t implement any PCDF projects since the current ruling government took office. It is a hot debate in Assembly floor since 11th Assembly first seating and PPAC first seating in 2019 till now only the executive knows the reason of such. By law it is must for rollover projects passed by previous Assembly under PCDF to be prioritize funding before any new projects but in our case new projects of the executive funded leaving non exco rollover projects left out. As wards representatives of the province we see PCDF for the whole of Central Province but in our case PCDF is just for the Provincial Executive, and the Hon Premier uses it to hold his government number just for political ambitious. We, the leaders expected in a little way at least our wards receive a share of PCDF to address issues encountered by our people for so long but it’s not in our case as a Province. We understand that due to covid19 our PCDF budget is cut by certain percentage but to be left out rollover projects of non executive and fund new projects of executive even though knowing very well that this projects need urgent attention. Hence, some of the none executive wards least benefited from such funding compared to other wards whom benefited three to four times than others. Example, Tulagi Ward – Ward represented by Hon Premier Stanley Manetiva whom almost benefited full part of PCDF allocation but fail to know that 90% of Tulagi population is not Central Province origin pepple leaving the very people of the province who also need those services out. We don’t want to hear excuses saying that Tulagi Ward allowed to use 20% of PCDF to upgrade and improve administrative buildings but what about the long forgotten substations in the province that need serious considerations? Or is it meant for Tulagi only whom also uses part of 75% part of PCDf meant for all 13 Wards? To clarify to our people and respected Wards the projects mentioned by the Premier in his press release are not fully funded under PCDF and some are not captured in the budget until PPAC members resign before the executive government trying to negotiate by insert an amendments but will have to go through the process again not just shortcut as proposed by the Executive and Administration. Therefore, to make it fair to all the 13 Wards and to fulfill the Hon Premiers common phrase of leaving no one behind, let’s all face and recieved the same results, that’s unity ” we rich we rich together, we poor we poor together as a Province “. Not serving only few and leaving the rest out of the picture as usually practices in the Province. How possible to release story this morning brother?
- Technical Evaluation Committee & Provincial Tender Board Conflict of Awarded Preferences
These committees have breached almost every process and procedures of the FMO and PCDF manual. There are many cases in which the TEC made recommendations for contractors who met all the requirements and qualified enough to meet project end results according to their checklist, however, to our surprise awards of most projects in the province under PCDF is given to different contractors yet by the PTB especially contractors in which the PTB and Executive governments have interests in resulting in very slow project completion, high variations and continuous rollover of projects for many years. Hence, TEC is a qualified committee with expertise who knows very well which contractors fit for such projects for its successful completion. The case in point is the contractor who didn’t deliver the Yadina Water Tanks project. On this note, the committee involved with contractors in adjustment of project plans after signing of projects is a serious matter of concern maybe or maybe not to the knowledge of the contractors such practice is done for the small Tulagi hospital ablution block worth $340 plus thousands which should be suppose to cost less if the plan is adjusted and poses a great concern of investigation for such small projects with big value of money.
3. Yadina Water Tanks failed Project continuously funded
This is a long overdue failed Project which was approved in 2019/2020FY. The people of Banika have complained why the case was not reported to the police for investigations. The PCDA informed the Assembly during the budget review that he did not know how the money was raised and paid out when there was no Monitoring and Evaluation carried out on the project. The contactor already signed the contract for the project and it’s a surprise why such project is not delivered to the people and being paid 60% more than two progressive payments already even though there are no tanks on site. The PPAC and Assembly members always raise this issue in the meetings but the usual answer is legal actions will be taken but since 2019 till now no legal actions have been taken even though there is an allocation in PCDF that can be taken care of such issue. Hence, to our surprise in 22/23FY $60,000.00 was endorsed by the executive under works division to cover the cost of recovering the lost fund by the Manetiva led government and the administration which is really unfair to other wards whom missed out in such funding since 2019, and we call on MPGIS not only to investigate this project but to do so in PCDF expenditures as a whole in Central Province. The province will have to cover this cost but those involved will walk away with thousands of dollars if this is not addressed, and to be frank it’s not only our duty to investigate such practices but it’s the current ruling government responsibility to take actions as a matter of good governance to address this issue, but failed to do so because maybe they themselves also involved in the projects discrepancies.
- Market to Chamber Road Funding
This road was included in the capital project with the cost of $400 plus thousands was tendered and the winning bidder was announced, but to the surprise of many people the contract was given to a close associate of the PS Central Province who ran away because the work was signed and paid directly to the PS instead he will take the money before paying Association and his employees. The contract for the road was in fact own by the PS CPG, and for same road $50,000 was taken from ESP covid19 fund under the PS own initiative instead of the executive endorsement which we see as unprocedural allocation that should be done by the executive, $20,000 again was approved by the Assembly for the same road through virements from Town Council allocation subheadings, after they also took the retention money and used materials that belonged to Town Council activities and was admitted that due to shortage of materials but never been reimbursed to date, is this right? We see this project as a failed project because concrete made for the road is already broken less that a year, this a result of poor design and contractor. The worst part is the machinery used belongs to the province as well and the work is done in labor bases. So for almost more than $400 plus thousands spent but of a poor quality and funds should other wards benefited from is just wasted on the poor road of low quality. The PS himself admitted in the last PPAC meetings that due to fund exhausted he used funds under the ESP, hardware materials from other division to complete the project. Hence, the project is funded under PCDF and CPG capital budget which we believe is sufficient enough to complete the project, however, the project was not completed as funds from the recurrent budget was used to complete the project which is only right to upgrade or improve or maintaining of the road rather funding the new project. Such practice is believed to be practiced by the PS CPG in the past for the same type of fund which we believe the serious findings needed because we believe those in the system also involve in the making even though they know very well that to pay Provincial Fund as personal payments is wrong. We ask those responsible to clarify this not only for Central Province but to the nation at large as it’s not only wrong but misused of funds and false reporting will be highly practice once this kind of practices is allowed to happen.
- ESP COVID-19 allocation of $45, 300 for Hakama Farm
Under the allocation of the ESP endorsed by the executive government and passed by the Assembly, $50,000.00 was captured in the budget FY 20/21 for Hakama farm, unfortunately only $4,700.00 has been received and confirmed by the agriculture division to date. Why the remaining balance is not paid to Hakama is unclear when it was passed since 2020/21FY. Information obtained during PPAC from CPG PS and TR the money is still kept in the Provincial Account even though the Agriculture team really needs the money, but remains a big question now of this allocation. On this same sentiment, $100,000.00 is given to Siota PSS for water and sanitation project. However, in a sad reality it’s like only part of the money being used to build the small ablution one for boys and one girls with no running water at the time of opening. Hence, big value of money is given with small outputs which raises questions of fund mismanagement which we believe the ruling government and administration knew of this.
- Tulagi Commercial Center Projects Continuously rollover
This project is a failed Project and we believe the Province has already been penalized for it in the past but still has been prioritize in this 11th Assembly for funding and completion rather than funding of new projects needed by other wards for urgent needed services. The contractor of the building failed to complete this project within the scheduled time frame. This same project keeps rolling over and over every Financial Year. We also note that during the project period of the current contractor, he bought lands in Tulagi from people even though lands is just in the offer stage with no title and he’s building houses also at his home village, building private houses equipped with video disc interior flash toilet and kitchen. Hence, the very reasons of those rollover projects is also because of contractors none commitment, and hardware materials of projects is diverted for other personal usage and cronies. Around the same period of time, the PS CPG also built two classic houses one at his home village and another at Tulagi. The Premier too also built four new houses at his private residence at Tulagi and of course the TR big resthouse. While these are good individual developments of this three top leaders it raises a lot of questions speculating by the public that PCDF funds could be involved in funding such properties, because to have such properties you must have money in millions but looking at these top leaders their salaries don’t match such, even though if they obtain bank loans. On this same sentiment, these three top leaders also given the privilege of land title in Tulagi township in the recent title offer by the ministry of lands board even though hundreds of poor people and hard working Provincial workers whom serve the Province for so long and applied for a piece of land being neglected over and over again. Hence, we’re not surprised of such practice because Tulagi is just operated as a family business or operation by the top leaders.
- PDOC $90,000.00 allocation paid directly to PS of CPG from NDMO
This money was paid by the NDMO to assist PDOC to monitor the Corona situation in Central Province. The money was raised and paid directly to PS CPG and never paid to Provincial Account even though it’s a public fund, and used as daily allowances. Hence, the PS CPG went to buy more than 100 plus bags of rice transported it in the Police speed boat from Honiara to Tulagi, and sold them to people during look down and travel ban periods. Hence, our question is why this public fund is not reflected in the Province of no humanitarian support in the Province and no COVID19 setups in the Province even though such big money is given to the Province? The Premier is well aware of this but has not raised any questions about its use while the people in our wards suffered the effects of COVID19. Such practice is believed to be practiced by the PS CPG in the past for the same type of fund which we believe serious findings needed because as far as we think those in the system also involve in the making even though they know very well that to pay Provincial Fund as personal payments is wrong. We ask those responsible to clarify this not only for Central Province but to the nation at large cos its not only wrong but misused of funds and false reporting will be highly practice once this kind of practices is allowed to happen.
- Fuel Supply and usage of Provincial Assets
The Premier has his own fuel depot and almost every fuel he uses for his Provincial running is taken from his own depot. We had been informed that the invoices are given to a private fuel supplier who raises the requisitions for the payments of his own fuel to the Provincial Treasury whose Payments is always the priority above every Payments, and a third party transactions against the FMO and a conflict of interests his own fuel depot for Provincial official purposes. The same with other Provincial Staffs: PS CPG, Senior Accountant CPG and Provincial Boat Driver CPG, and is a serious breach to FI to use Provincial Assets in this manner for personal usage such as Provincial depot for personal selling of fuel. Hence, it remains questionable if they declare or not their business to LCC thus request responsible authorities to verify their business declarations. In all Central Province Authorities knew all of this but wish to remain silent because they themselves involve in such practices, and fail to correct and rightfully take procure in such circumstances. It is also questionable whether they pay for Provincial licenses for operating fuel depot or not, but to impose strong sanctions on our poor rural people for depot license but free selling of fuel by officials is really bad, and all Provincial runs that needs fuel only taken from this officials depot, and Payments will be raised and signed by themselves. Thus the question is are we going to allow all this to continue to happen or not? Let you our rural people of Central Province to answer this.
- Breaching of PPAC functions and Powers by the ruling Government policies under SO
There are many concerns that we raised during the first quarter of FY21/22 unfortunately our findings were never been recorded by the secretary that’s why we support the appointment of the new secretary to review and monitor the discrepancies and alleged activities done outside the SO, FMO and PCDF manual. It is however unfortunate that the administration and executive have different preferences and caused the delay of recruiting the PPAC secretary. Hence, there are many things we found out as PPAC but never been recorded by our secretary because of close affiliation to the Administration and executive even though questioning of every payment submission of $4000 – $5000 per meetings beside the seating allowances convene meetings. Hence, PPAC in Central Province is just used as a rubber stamp by the ruling government and administration for assessment formality fulfillment but lack respects to the power and functions of the mandate committee under Assembly Standing Order. For example, PPAC sometimes missed out in few daily seating allowance even though there’s an allocation on the budget, and times PPAC wanted to visit projects sites in the province to see projects and questioning people as mandated in the SO but denied rights by the authority. At this juncture, we regret to inform our people of Central Province that our actions taken is to save the Province in the long run because few greedy leaders and officials really enjoyed all those benefits for so long never expecting us to take such necessary actions just for a little while but for how many years past they enjoyed millions of dollars intended for the rural poor people who struggle to access better services but denied. Hence, you’re given false and fabricated reports just to cover up all the corruption practices by the big fishes and led to believe reports of position Number (1) but you yourself judge the development of the Province. On this note, we as PPAC resigned cannot convene meetings just to give opportunities to the big fishes to continue enjoying the benefits of the province while leaving the rest of the province victimized, so we have to take such necessary action to stop them this way. It’s true that there are other ways to address such grievances but in the case of Central Province where money and power play it just not work even just in small ways in requesting documents or transactions related issues but just denied so to put a stop we knew the consequences of our actions on losing the 60% PCDF and none passing of the budget, however, it’s doesn’t make any sense to us that even when the budget is passed but no service delivery intended to our people just like no budget at all apart from only the Ward Grant allocation which is Mandated for all Wards.
In summary, this issues raised is not just due to PCDF unfair distribution but its an issue of the ruling government and administration failure of addressing what matters the most to the province. Hence, most of our people are happy of our stand taken because they themselves also felt the same as left out from the Provincial system for so long and denied the rights to benefit from their resources and funds intended. Thus, this issues have been raised over and over again in the Assembly but fall in deaf ears, and to this conclusion we have no assurance of conviction that this government will take our concerns on board on behalf of our people unless or until change of government and administration leadership. Thank you all for your patience in waiting to hear our side of the story but we hope you’ve seen the real picture of our resignation. And again call on the Ministry of Provincial Government to investigate Central Province PCDF expenditures.
The issue to solve the PPAC grievances that leads up to resignation should already been solved if the Hon Premier himself listen to the Speakers Office and humbly handle the situation in an amicable way but instead too emotional and pride to listen for advises, and to the extent harshly approaches everyone that wants to help in solving the issue once and for all, resulting in none passing of the budget. On this note, who to blame? Because we the PPAC sick and tired of the old fashion politics the Province played and if all that we have raised to the Executive governments address then there should not be any resignation at the first place, and it’s a merely cover up to say that this government is a listening government which doesn’t reflect it at all, and that’s the root cause of our resignation and nothing will change our stand as resigned PPAC. The issue to solve the PPAC grievances that leads up to resignation should already been solved if the Hon Premier himself listen to the Speaker’s Office and humbly handle the situation in an amicable way but instead too emotional and pride to listen for advises, and to the extent harshly approaches everyone that wants to help in solving the issue once and for all, resulting in none passing of the budget. On this note, who to blame? Because we the PPAC are sick and tired of the old fashion politics the province plays and if all that we have raised to the Executive governments address then there should not be any resignation at the first place, and it’s a merely cover up to say that this government is a listening government which doesn’t reflect it at all, and that’s the root cause of our resignation and nothing will change our stand as resigned PPAC.
When asked Premier Manetiva said they have the right to express their views adding his government is preparing to have its budget meeting next month.
Below the initial story of by the Premier which the MPAs’ are responding to.