Alleged irregularities within VCMB and Sanma Province

Public Accounts Committee in Luganville yesterday.

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is doing its best to investigate Government assets and public funds utilized by the Sanma Provincial Council

and the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board (VCMB).

Yesterday after the first session PAC identified an undeclared spending of Vt8 million towards a Bukura land on Efate by the Sanma Provincial Government and which the knowledge of future benefits of this project is unclear.

Although Sanma Province has provided a well-documented Financial Report to PAC for 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 and the fact that 2005 to 2014 is with the auditor General many questions have been raised on the Vt8 million towards the Bukura land.

According to the Accountant, the direction came from the Department of Local Authorities (DLO) for the spending on the Bukura land.

The Accountant briefed the team that the plan involved all Provincial Headquarters including the Municipalities around the country and the intention was to subdivide the plots of land and will be shared among the provinces.

It was not known if the Council’s money used to purchase the land was approved in a council meeting but this could not be confirmed by the Accountant.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Tanna, Bob Loughman, told the Accountant who was the only person present that any irregularities found on the spending of public funds will see authorities within Sanma Province held responsible.

Visiting the VCMB yesterday afternoon the team was sad to see that the Institution has no proper audit for the last 5 years.

PAC has urged the current management to help prepare an audit report for the last 5 years.

The Current VCMB Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hicklington Aru, who was recruited on November 15 told the team that he could only provide information from where he started.

The team was also alerted to the fact that an amount of Vt6 million has been paid to a former VCMB staff who is now a leader and it is alleged the money was paid based on a ministerial instruction and not a court decision.

Without taking much time yesterday Chairman for PAC, Hosea Nevu, called an end to the meeting while he urged the management to provide an audit report for the last 5 years.

Another entity which PAC will be visiting today for the same purpose is the Northern Islands Stevedoring Company Limited (NISCOL).

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