Post Courier | July 31, 2019
The Public Accounts Committee chairman Sir John Pundari has cautioned Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited management against confusing public funds with private revenue.
He said this yesterday following a letter from KPHL director Wapu Sonk outright rejecting to meet with the permanent parliamentary committee and present their audit reports.
In a media statement yesterday, Sir John said that KPHL needed to identify the clear distinction between the two different types of funding and subject themselves under the same scrutiny as other statutory bodies.
He said that as an organisation which was instituted by the Independent State of PNG (by operation of the Kumul Petroleum Authorization Act 2015), KPHL was subject to scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee.
Sir John that the overarching consideration in the matter was the Constitution. And that in the event of any contradictions with other laws, that applicable provisions within the Constitution naturally overruled these contradictions.
“KPHL merely collects on resources (property) owned by the people of Papua New Guinea and this is where the mandate of the Public Accounts Committee kicks in. The Public Accounts Committee’s key function is to examine and report to the parliament on the public monies and property of Papua New Guinea,” said Sir John.
“This is a constitutional mandate under Section 216 of the Constitution, the mother law hence any other laws whose provisions are contrary to the Constitution is invalid to the extent of that contradiction.”
This statement was made following a recent statement by KPHL chairman Andrew Baing that KPHL was a government business governed by its own laws, and was not subject to the Public Finance Management Act.
The ongoing stalemate between the Public Accounts Committee and KPHL reached a head last Wednesday when the PAC gave KPHL two weeks to produce details of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments and payments since the first delivery in 2014.