Tag Archives: Public Accounts Committee

Please review appointment of new KPHL chairman

Ivan Gordons | YuTok, Post Courier | August 5, 2019

Just recently I wrote a letter that was published in the local daily questioning the appointment of Andrew Baing as the chairman of KPHL on whether he was the same person who was found guilty by the leadership tribunal years back on misappropriation grounds and dismissed from holding public office.

I simply stated that this was not right for someone with such a record to be appointed to such an office that was dealing with public monies especially of such magnitude.

A reply was published also from a person saying that he was grateful for the last Prime Minister for the appointment and that he was going to prove the country proud or something along those lines.

Not much was said after that.

Fast forward to this present day and we all can see for ourselves. It is ridiculous how KPHL has addressed this saga to date.

Yes they can rant on about this law and that, this Act and that but with all that aside they are dealing with public funds.

Just provide the information to the PAC and explain yourselves to the people of this country where their money from the 500 shipment of gas has gone. There are many stories out in the public domain on the abuse and misuse of these funds benefiting the well off while the people are struggling.

I have faith and trust in our new PM honourable James Marape that he will not let his people down.

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Deputy PM Orders KPHL To Go Under PAC Scrutiny

Isaac Nicholas | Post Courier |  August 5, 2019

Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited must do the right thing and respond to the summons of the Public Accounts Committee, Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven said on Friday.

“I want to clarify to the people of Papua New Guinea and to the KPHL Board and management that the powers of the Public Accounts Committee are quite clear under the Constitution,” he said in a statement.

Mr Steven said there had been arguments raised questioning and challenging the PAC mandate that the oil company was separate from the State-owned entities and was not subject to processes, including scrutiny of its financial affairs by the Permanent Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.

“These arguments, in my view, are erroneous and misleading to the general public as to the intention of the law,” Mr Steven said.

“The fact that the State owns the interests in petroleum projects and the KPHL is a nominee of the State to hold its interests for and on behalf of the people of PNG, this brings the KPHL under the jurisdiction of the Public Accounts Committee.”

He said the PAC is the body that the Constitution has mandated with that responsibility by giving it a broad mandate to examine and report to the Parliament on the public accounts of Papua New Guinea, and on the control of and on transactions with or concerning, the public moneys and property of PNG.

“It is not in PNG’s national interest and has always not been the intention of establishing the KPHL that it should not be open to public scrutiny of its financial accounts, where such requests made by the Public Ac- counts Committee.

“KPHL must now do the right thing and respond to the summons of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee,” Mr Steven said.

“I am concerned that State institutions and businesses like KPHL are questioning the authority of the Parliament. KPHL including the Mineral Resources Development Authority (MRDC ) are trust companies holding the interests of the citizens of Papua New Guinea.

“I therefore urge all government departments, agencies, SOEs to answer to the demands of our people and work together with the political leadership and the relevant bodies established by the Constitution to change PNG. Our people demand that.”

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Yalo: KPHL answers to Parliament

The National aka The Loggers Times | August 2, 2019

KUMUL Petroleum Holdings Ltd (KPHL) is answerable to the legislature, former judge and lawyer Nemo Yalo says.

“The legislature, like the judiciary, has the ultimate oversight role on the executive arm and its agencies,” Yalo said in a statement.

“KPHL chief executive and the board are appointed by and are answerable to the executive arm.

“Therefore, by extension, KPHL is answerable to the legislature.

“Who does the KPHL board and CEO ultimately declare and present dividends to?

“To themselves or to the people through their executive government?”

Yalo said he was only expressing his opinion on the matter.

He said only the National Court and the Supreme Court could settle the issue of whether or not KPHL was subject to the Constitutional oversight powers and functions of the legislature.

Yalo said the Supreme Court, in the case MRDC vs Ombudsman Commission SC931 (August 2008), ruled that MRDC, a company registered with the IPA and of which the prime minister was the sole shareholder holding shares for and on behalf of the State, was subject to the scrutiny of the Ombudsman Commission (OC), in particular its CEO being subject to the Leadership Code, including the ex-officio board members, who by virtue of their substantive offices, were also declared as being subject to the same law.

He said the committee on public accounts was a Parliamentary committee performing the role of the legislature when it was not in session.

Those very roles and functions each Parliamentary committee was obligated to perform.

“If one were to buy the KPHL’s legal proposition, it is amazing that an Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament itself restricts its own ultimate power to supervise the executive.

“Was the Parliament blind to the doctrine of separation of powers when it passed laws to tie its own hands behind its back?

“It is immaterial that KPHL, or any state-owned enterprise was registered with the IPA,” Yalo said.

“The Parliament through the PAC has power to review and probe the Auditor General’s reports, OC reports and others, and compel relevant persons and entities to give information.

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Pundari Cautions KPHL Against Confusing Public, Private Monies

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.

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Public Accounts Committee to investigate LNG proceeds

Rebecca Kuku | The National aka The Loggers Times | 25 July 2019

THE Public Accounts Committee wants to know where the proceeds from the multi-billion kina PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project are.

It has therefore given the Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL) two weeks to provide the committee with information on the aggregate income generated from more than 500 shipments of LNG to overseas buyers since the first one in 2014.

Committee chairman Sir John Pundari, said they wanted KPHL to explain:

  • How much has been has been made so far from the export of the liquefied natural gas;
  • How much of that money had been given to the State and landowners;
  • how much has been given to the provincial government of the affected areas for development and infrastructure; and,
  • How much was used on KPHL’s cost of operation. 

Sir John said people had the right to know how much was made from the shipments of LNG and where the money was right now.

“KPHL is not a private business. It is not your money or my money,” he said.

“It is the people’s money. So why are we being secretive? KPHL belongs to the people and the Public Accounts Committee has the mandate to enquire.”

But KPHL board chairman Andrew Baing said it was a government business governed by its own legislations and was not subjected to the Public Finance Management Act as the other state-owned enterprises.

Baing said yesterday that he had said all he needed to say on the matter.

“I will comment later in the week after I consult my office and lawyers,” he said.

The committee wants KPHL to provide all the information by August 7, failing which officials will be summoned before the committee.

The first shipment of LNG from ExxonMobil PNG Ltd’s US$19 billion PNG LNG project left the country on May 25, 2014, carrying a cargo bound for Japan.

It was reported at that time that the cargo had been sold on the spot market to Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc.

Since then over 500 shipments of liquefied natural gas had been made.

The committee published a notice this month on its intention to hold an inquiry into the operations of KPHL.

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