Prime Minister O’Neill must act on K780 million Finance Department fraud

The Prime Minister must take decisive action to ensure those implicated in the K780 million Department of Finance fraud are brought to justice and the monies recovered, says community advocacy group, ACT NOW!

K780 million in public money was stolen through the Department of Finance between 2000 and 2006. But, despite a Commission of Inquiry that detailed who was involved and their methods, nobody has been prosecuted and none of the monies has ever been recovered. A court injunction that initially prevented publication of the Commission findings was lifted in 2013.

ACT NOW! is staging a “Birthday Bash” at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby today to mark the fifth anniversary of the Commission of Inquiry Report being tabled in Parliament. The event will highlight the irony that while the public has suffered a huge injustice; those responsible for the theft will be celebrating their continued evasion of justice and having a ‘bash’ as the Inquiry recommendations have not been followed through.

At the event, a cake will be cut and cupcakes depicting the K780 million will be shared to illustrate how fast the huge sum of money has been consumed and forgotten.

“Nobody has been prosecuted for their role in this massive fraud, nobody has gone to prison and none of the monies stolen have been recovered,” says ACT NOW! Program Manager, Effrey Dademo.

“The Prime Minister needs to take decisive action. He should reinstate the Task Force Sweep and ensure it has the resources to address this huge injustice.”

ACT NOW! has calculated the K780 million stolen through the Department could have paid for 5,000 nurses salaries for 10 years or for 370 new double-story classrooms to be built or provided 7,800 new police houses. But instead the money has disappeared into the hands of a few lawyers and public servants who are freely walking the streets as if nothing happened, says ACT NOW!

“Task Force Sweep has already proved its effectiveness in investigating serious corruption and has a track record of putting white collar criminals behind bars. The Prime Minister needs to ensure it continues its vital work.”

For interviews: Effrey Dademo (+ 675) 7100 1834 [from 3pm]