KPHL given 2-week deadline to deliver all LNG information
Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited has been given two weeks to furnish details of LNG shipments and payments since the first consignment was made in 2014. Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts chairman Sir John Pundari says that the committee’s initial formal request for information had been refused; instead KPHL had insisted on a closed door meeting.
Sir John, who is Kompiam-Ambum MP, insists that KPHL must adhere to his PAC notice to produce the requested information in two weeks.
Ten other state-owned enterprises have also been asked to provide information (see story, page 4). He told a media conference yesterday that the Public Accounts would be forced to summon KPHL to appear before it.
“The PAC will apply the power of the people’s house that is extended to the people’s Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Public Account, any committee of Parliament is an extension of the Parliament sittings.”
“So we are sitting in continuation for and on behalf of the people,” he said.
The information Sir John was referring to was in relation to the liquefied natural gas – LNG exports – about 500 shipments and the money received from those shipment.
Sir John said that the people of PNG had the right to know.
“Landowners and Papua New Guineans need to know how much money have been made so far on the LNG shipments to date and how much of that money had been given to the State and landowners. The money belongs to the people and they have the right to know.”
“As elected representatives of the people, we have a duty to ask these questions, therefore it is our position that KPHL and other state-owned enterprises which deal with public funds and properties, regardless of whatever nature, form and shape they take. They need to be transparent and accountable in order to ensure that public funds are used for the benefit of the public.”
“Why are we so secretive about the dealing with money? You don’t have to coat it with secrecy,” Sir John said.
Last week, KPHL board of directors chairman Andrew Baing said that Kumul Petroleum is a government business governed by its own laws and it did not have to subject itself to the Public Finance Management Act.
Mr Baing said that Kumul Petroleum did not get budget support from the National Budget hence the company’s finances and books did not qualify as “public accounts” of the State or “public monies and property of the State”.
However, Sir John said that the parliamentary oversight role was played prominently by parliamentary committees such as the Public Accounts Committee which are covered by section 216 of the Constitution.
“Parliamentary committees are an extension of parliament itself and so its oversight role is an essential tool in enhancing transparency and accountability over state entities as well as state-owned enterprises, including KPHL.
“KPHL is owned by the people of PNG and the prime minister of the day holds the shares in trust.”