O’Neill’s K3 million hand-out on eve of no confidence vote
21 July 2016
A PAPUA New Guinea Treasury source has revealed that the O'Neill-Dion government has ordered a payment of K3 million to each government member of parliament at the so-called ‘Alotau retreat’.
The funding will be provided under the district services improvement program.
The source, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the Finance Department has been instructed to make payment this week ahead of tomorrow’s vote of no confidence in prime minister Peter O’Neill.
Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan confirmed that the instrument to facilitate payments has been signed and funds are expected to be released tomorrow.
The news of this planned payment went viral on Facebook as PNG awaits the outcome of the vote expected to be held at 10:30 tomorrow morning.
Critics were quick to label this payout an attempt to buy the votes of MPs to remain in or join the O’Neill camp and vote for the prime minister today.
Meanwhile, O'Neill said the cost flying MPs to Alotau for what he has called a ‘retreat’ was funded by his People's National Congress Party and not from government coffers as claimed by the opposition.
In May, vice-minister for Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs Joe Sungi said members of parliament were “not interested on who will become the prime minister but all were concerned about the DSIP funds."
Sungi said any potential prime minister who wanted to change this arrangement will not be voted into office.
"You have seen so many attempts in parliament to change the prime minister but have not been successful because we are tied with the DSIP/PSIP funds," Sungi said.
"That's why we will support the O'Neill-Dion government. So long as you have the money, you will master the numbers."
There is already a perception that the K3 million payout to the MPs in the Alotau ‘camp’ is to secure them in the government team which will vote for O'Neill to remain as prime minister.
The government also regards this vote of no-confidence as having great impact in preparing for next year's general election.
Just to update from previous comment, I have now heard back from C Hawkins from PNG PM's office about the matter.
He says he understands 111 million kina was drawn, and that the money is for disbursement to each district and province in PNG.
He added that it is a regular process, and that the money is specifically targeted and accounted for by people at local level.
Peter O'Neill's flack, eh? It takes me back to Mandy Rice-Davies and her eternal line, "Well he would say that wouldn't he" - KJ
Posted by: Johnny Blades | 25 July 2016 at 10:45 AM
Dear Johnny Blades - Please ask Christopher to provide you with evidence of the new and correct figure. Of course, the PM will deny and that is for sure.
The total amount of warrant of payments issued by Treasury Department to Finance to execute payment was K111 million.
How much each was paid need to be confirmed and published. And when it was paid.
Posted by: Peter K Kaulga | 23 July 2016 at 09:24 AM
I have been informed by Christopher Hawkins (PM O'Neill's media person) that these figures re the DSIP handouts are inaccurate. RNZI also quoted the NBC on this story. Telling me I've been duped, Hawkins said he looks forward to RNZ International's retraction. I've asked him for some clarification about what the actual amount involved is - haven't heard back yet but hope to update.
Posted by: Johnny Blades | 22 July 2016 at 07:25 PM
If this is true then bribery has worked again. Or will the K3 million will be given to those MPs in the opposition as well?
Posted by: John K Kamasua | 22 July 2016 at 04:03 PM
Too bad we have lost it! Lost it already.
Posted by: John K Kamasua | 22 July 2016 at 03:53 PM
Why is this allowed? We have debts, we have public servants who have been waiting for owed payouts, we need roads, we need schools, we need upgrading of public services, and yet this is all put aside when he says give K3 million to each government Member of Parliament? Is this even legal?
We are the tax payers, we are the ones working for that money, and we are struggling to make a living here. This is crazy.
Posted by: Gina Komboi | 22 July 2016 at 09:49 AM
Really stinks, how low can the person offering the 'bribe' and the person accepting the bribe go.
How long should right thinking PNG leaders sit and not take action and stop following leaders who clearly have no sense of integrity and national pride.
I strongly suggest the banks (BPNG) and others do not honour these cheques and put a stop to this power hungry madness and greed and do not allow the PNG people's money to be cashed and abused by corrupted politicians.
Enough is enough.
Posted by: Kombgla Woyia | 21 July 2016 at 01:40 PM
This whole thing is getting quite disgusting.
And, of course, it is highly unlikely that the money will be spent on the people in the provinces.
I think PNG might now be the most corrupt country in the world.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 21 July 2016 at 10:49 AM
By any means and soon, very soon, bring on a court action for injunction to delay or put stop to the reported intention of 'gratis' payment to politicians huddled in huts near an extreme end of PNG.
DSIP also has become a dip too deep. Take one example: Whereas a newly elected Governor Juffa, soon after taking office, brought about the rejuvenation of a health facility at Saiho, much appreciated, came what seems a surprise.
At that location, there had been a hospital until the hospital function was relocated to Popondetta. All that was quite some time ago.
Last year it was reported that the Prime Minister visited the Saiho location and with announcement, said a new hospital will be built at Saiho.
Then the PM delivered to the local Member of Parliament a government cheque, said to be K1.5M for initiating the process of building a new hospital. Oh, goody, for all the people at central Kaiva.
Never mind the people at Ioma, Manau, Tufi, and more places, where health facilities have been neglected become shadows, spectres of Government inability to deliver hoped-for services.
Never mind dancing on top of mounds made by other achievers.
Now ask, at least, for the good of people at central Kaiva. What is the process by which the announced new building of hospital at that respected, even revered place (where the Anglican Church had hoped in 1951, to rebuild its Martyrs Memorial School), what is the process for this works to be worthy?
By the way, where and how much the money of that cheque remains?
Each electorate of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea has a story or many sorries, of announcement similar to Saiho. Let sighs give rise to saying enough, no more the dip of national prestige, in the disgrace of unaccountable dips via DSIP.
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 21 July 2016 at 10:15 AM
If found to be true, surely this is a direct breaking of the law as it is reported only those who are in the 'conclave' are going to receive the funds.
It now shows just how low the O'Neill government has stooped and how much it costs to 'buy' a vote in Parliament.
The most urgent issue however is not to condemn the payment and think that's enough. Surely there must be an immediate legal injunction taken out to prevent this happening now and then to gain an opinion on the legality of this reported blatant bribery?
'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.'
Posted by: Paul Oates | 21 July 2016 at 09:35 AM
Surely, such blatant and provocative moves are precedent for legal challenge, and immediate injunctions stalling payout.
Perhaps now will be the beginning of nationwide uproar from the citizens as they see their local members respond to the offer of gris moni.
Posted by: Robin Lillicrapp | 21 July 2016 at 09:28 AM
I urge every right thinking MP not to accept this K3 million payout.
Judas Iscariot offered the Lord Jesus to the Romans for 30 silver pieces.
The money he got was simply dirty money and the guilt and the torment were in his mind day and night.
And you know where Judas ended up eventually.
Posted by: Paul Waugla Wii | 21 July 2016 at 09:01 AM
Hi Paul, I had a letter published in a recent edition of The Spectator following David Cameron's infamous comment to HM Queen Elizabeth about fantastically corrupt countries.
There are two principal parties in any corrupt transaction, the corruptor and the corrupted.
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 21 July 2016 at 08:52 AM
Surely if this is found to be true, anyone who accepts this 'bribe' is just as guilty as those who are offering it?
What would happen if this action has been confirmed by the Treasury Department after an official complaint is lodged with the police?
What would happen if the Opposition Leader immediately obtained an injunction on any payment being made pending a decision on the legality of the action and the outcome of the complaint?
What would a likely penalty be for those who were found to have accepted this reported bribe?
Finally, what might happen to those MP's who decided to accept this reported bribe when they emerged from their enforced accommodation?
Could or would they then be arrested and if so, would that mean they wouldn't be available to vote in the House on the Vote of No Confidence?
Someone needs to take action very quickly I would have thought?
Posted by: Paul Oates | 21 July 2016 at 08:19 AM
Such enticements are crippling this country.
Let all members of the 'People's Parliament' with a conscience vote freely tomorrow.
If not the people of PNG will be sent into an Auschwitz gas chamber for good.
Posted by: Daniel Kumbon | 21 July 2016 at 08:05 AM
Posted by: Francis Nii | 21 July 2016 at 08:01 AM
Meanwhile most schools PNG wide have not received their funding. Oro is struggling to maintain its high school boarders who are running out of food.
The Oro Provincial Government is working round the clock to keep students but with small internal revenue and only one month’s recurrent funding of the 2016 budget received and only K1m of our provincial improvement funding, it’s a real challenge.
No thanks to the O'Neill-Dion Government being worshipped blindly by MPs who ignore their suffering people.
Yes...we keep this government and we keep suffering. Thank you prime minister and your government for making us suffer.
My brother Charles Abel, can you shed some light being right there in the engine room of the government?
What is happening to the funds that are lawfully due to us?
Posted by: Gary Juffa MP | 21 July 2016 at 07:45 AM