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PNG Prime Minister Peter O'neill welcomes Oppositions complaints lodged with the Ombudsman Commision

Staff Reporter 2/27/2013 | |
PNG PM Peter O'neill.

Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, today welcomed complaints the Opposition has lodged with the Ombudsman Commission regarding the public service housing project.

Opposition Leader, Belden Namah, met with the Chief Ombudsman earlier this week and lodged the complaint against the Prime Minister in relation to the failed housing scheme, that's been terminated by Cabinet.

The failed housing scheme was initiated by Mr O' Neill in 2009 when he was Public Service Minister.

K31.5m was paid to Australia Pacific Panel Limited (AusPac) to carry out the project, but the State cancelled the contract due to a sale price dispute. 

AusPac agreed to repay all funds with 200 titles. 

AusPac Limited is owned by several high profile businessmen and women in PNG including Sir Frederick Reiher as well as former National Provident Fund Managing Director, Jimmy Maladina, among others.

Mr O’Neill said in a statement today that it's good for public interest that an independent body reviews the contractual issues. 

He maintained that the project had been budgeted and approved by Parliament, went through the Central Supplies and Tenders Board, and initially cleared by Cabinet. 

But Mr O'Neill expressed concern over the manner the Opposition is using the issue for politics. 

Mr O’Neill says there are respectable business people employing thousands of citizens who have entered into contracts with the Government through the proper and legal processes including tendering in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act.

He says they should not be blatantly described publicly as wrong, without facts, adding such diminishes the confidence the private sector has in doing business with Government. NBC

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