PM Orders Full Audit Into MRDC
The Mineral Resource Development Company has now come under scrutiny amidst allegations of mismanagement of landowner funds.
Prime Minister James Marape has given his undertaking that a full audited report on the company will be brought be Parliament. Mr Marape was responding to allegations of misappropriation and abuse of trust by the MRDC that was raised by Moresby Northwest MP Sir Mekere Morauta in Parliament yesterday.
“There are concerns raised that points to serious cases of fraud, misappropriation, abuse and breach of trust by MRDC in its management of landowners trust funds.” Sir Mekere said those affected include Petroleum Resource Gobe (PRG), Petroleum Resource Kutubu (PRK) and Star Mountain landowners. “A number of matters were reported to police late last year but nothing has happened.”
Some allegations raised by Sir Mekere included: (.) K10 million of PRG landowners trust fund were used by MRDC without the approval of the board of PRG; (.) A K100 million grant by the State to PRK, Start Mountain landowners and Fly River provincial government to be spent on projects of their choice were diverted for other purposes; and (.) Serious allegations concerning the initial investment appraisal of the Star Mountain Hilton Hotel.
“I heard the costs were over estimated suggesting corruption and rate of return were highly inflated to make investment look more profitable than they really are with occupancy post APEC is hovering around 25 per cent, so the landowners would be very lucky to earn any money soon,” Sir Mekere said. “Are you aware of these allegations, as sole trustee and shareholder will you consider investigation of abuse. Will you take action and institute actions to prevent these abuses from happening again in future?”
Mr Marape in reply said these are serious and he was made aware of the matter since he assumed office as Prime Minister in May.
“I have funneled the complaints to police to investigate, police are there and I request all complaints against MRDC or any state owned enterprise or department, we have to utilise our police and I convey that police don’t need further instruction from Prime Minister or any Minister to do their job,” he said.
“While police are doing their work, I have requested MRDC to furnish an updated public accounts so their audited accounts be made known for public consumption.”
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