December 17, 2018

$3m package for Samoa Pacific Games from official sponsor Digicel

$3m package for Samoa Pacific Games from official sponsor Digicel

Digicel Samoa were announced as the official sponsor of the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games at their head office in Apia.

The official sponsorship package is valued at $3 million Tala (US$1.1 million), entailing both cash and broadcasting and communication services.

The announcement was made by the Games organising committee chairman, Minister Loau Keneti Sio and CEO Falefata Hele Matatia, along with Digicel Samoa CEO Farid Mohammed and chairman Pepe Christian Fruean.

Falefata said this was a big milestone leading up to Christmas.

“It means we can start looking to next year and all our other preparations.

“Getting most of the rest of our sponsorship deals locked in by the end of the year, making sure our venues are still on track which they are, and finalising the accommodation.

“It’s been a long time with the negotiations, making sure we ticked all our boxes.”

Mohammed joked that Falefata and his team had been keeping him up late at night getting the deal over the line.

“In any sponsorship negotiation there’s a lot that needs to be covered in terms of what we bring to the table, and what benefits we’ll get back from it,” he said.

“We were also in the process of a lot of network upgrades and stuff, so that took a lot of my personal time away from building what we need to for the Games, in terms of the digital experience.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be able to close the deal this side of Christmas, so we can all focus on the activation and execution of the sponsorship.”

Falefata said things would now start to open up in terms of preparations now with more funding locked in.

Earlier in the week he told the Observer they have had to be frugal with their spending.

“Hence why we have a lot of volunteers on board,” he said previously.

“We’ve asked some of our donor partners to help with our personnel,” he said.

PNG Watchdog keeps close eye on APEC assets

PNG Watchdog keeps close eye on APEC assets

The leadership watchdog, Ombudsman Commission, has given the government until tomorrow to account for and lock up APEC assets and not dispose them without approval.

These assets include the Maseratis and Bentleys, buses and other assets acquired by the State for use during APEC 2018 which culminated in the Leaders’ Summit last month. Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick, Ombudsman Richard Pagen and Ombudsman Kevin Kepore recently put out a statement which they had served on the government with direction notices to all relevant agencies.

The Ombudsman Commission confirmed last Friday that the government had asked for an extension of time which expires tomorrow, December 18.

Chief Secretary to Government Isaac Lupari said the government wanted more time to finalise the APEC inventory which they would present to the Ombudsman Commission.

He also said that the Cabinet also needed to make a decision on which assets to give to the churches, schools and provinces, among others, before a final list would be given to the Ombudsman Commission.

Last week, the government also advertised through the Central Supplies and Tenders Board for all APEC assets to be returned. A list of inventories is currently being finalized according to Lupari.

Last month, on November 2, the Ombudsman Commission issued a direction under section 27(4) of the Constitution to protect all assets that the government had acquired for the hosting of the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in PNG.

The direction was issued on Monday, November 19, and was served to executives, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, APEC 2018 PNG Coordination Authority chief executive Chris Hawkins, Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari, Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan, also in his capacity as acting chairman of the Central Supply and Tenders Board. Dick and Pagen said that the purpose of the constitutional direction was to ensure that before these assets were dealt with, all relevant laws, policies and guidelines for dealing with these assets were complied with. They said requirements under the Public Finance (Management) Act 1995 and the Public Finance (Management) Act 2016 must be complied with unless the commission advised otherwise.

The Government agreed to that effect and would be addressing this when the inventory was undertaken. Lupari told the Post-Courier last Friday that the Central Supplies and Tenders Board would advertise the assets for disposal only after Cabinet made its decision on which items to dispose off.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan has confirmed that all APEC assets bound for tender will be put on public offer starting this week.

Dr Ngangan made these remarks last Friday during a media event to officially close government accounts for the year.

The Secretary for Finance said that the disposal of APEC assets was indeed a matter of grave importance and that there was much public interest in how these assets would be handled.

Dr Ngangan said that as the chairman of Central Supply and Tenders Board, he would ensure all APEC acquired assets were first fully indentified and accounted for before beginning the public tendering process.

He admitted that advertisements and other moves were being made to herald the pending public offering of said assets but that these processes were now being finalised with advertisements for bids expected to be published in the newspapers this week.

“Assets donated by donors are a different subject altogether. Most donors have indicated that they do not want their donated assets to be sold so we shall identify and list all these assets and have the list brought before Cabinet to decide how to disburse these items,” said Dr Ngangan.

Minister for Finance James Marape who was also present, said that he was happy with the way the ministry had conducted itself this year even with the heavy-handed APEC meet and was certain that all APEC assets would be accounted for and made available for public bidding by this week.


Solomon Islands MP Manetoali charged on the eve of 10th parliament’s dissolution

Solomon Islands MP Manetoali charged on the eve of 10th parliament’s dissolution

Gao Bugotu MP Samuel Manetoali’s bid for a fourth term in parliament suffered a huge blow last Friday after Police arrested and charged him with one count of conversion.

Manetoali, who has served his constituency for the last three consecutive terms, and is currently the Minister for Forestry and Research, is accused of converting SBD$100,000 (US$12,468) of constituency funds to pay for a Christmas party he hosted in 2014.

He has appeared in the Magistrate’s Court but was released on a $5,000 (US$621.00) cash bail with strict conditions.

His surety also signed a principal bail of $5,000.

It’s understood police investigated the alleged conversion after Manetoali’s Constituency Development Officer (CDO) reported the matter.

Police alleged that around mid-December 2014, the newly elected DCC Government made a Cabinet decision to advance a grant of $100,000 to each of the 50 constituencies.

It was alleged that on 24 December, the amount of $100,000 was paid to Gao/Bugotu Constituency through SIG ANZ cheque and was processed by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD).

It was further alleged that Manetoali signed out the cheque at MRD on 24 December 2014 and handed it to his CDO at that time.

His CDO cashed the cheque and handed $100,000 to the accused who then on 25 December 2014, allegedly spent the money for a Christmas party which was held at his then Lengakiki residence.

Public Prosecutor Jasper Anisi told the court on Friday police investigations into the matter has been completed.

Amos Ngaingeri of L & L Lawyers, who represents Manetoali, said if that is the case then his client will be ready to take his plea on Monday.

Chief Magistrate Emma Garo ordered for disclosures to be provided to the defence counsel by Monday next week, and adjourned the case to December 28.

Assistant Commissioner (AC) Crime and Intelligence, Ian Vaevaso said Manetoali’s arrest is a result of hard investigative work which has been ongoing for a long time.”

“I would like to thank my officers for their hard work, and the Office of the Director Public Prosecution for offering legal advice to my investigators,” AC Vaevaso said.

Garo also ordered Manetoali to surrender his ordinary passport to the court.

Other bail conditions are: he is not to travel outside of the country without the court’s permission, he is to report to China Town Police Post twice a week commencing December 17 and he is not to interfere with five of Crown’s witnesses whom their names were provided to the court.