Wednesday, 3 August 2016

O'Neill-Dion Government moves to "pay" MPs to keep numbers in vote of no-confidence

THE O'Neill-Dion Government of Papua New Guinea has made moves to order a payment of K3-million to each of the members of parliament (MPs) in the Government as district services improvement program and developments funds, according to a source from Department of Treasury. 

The source who wish to remain anonymous said the Finance Department has been instructed to make payment this week. Secretary for Finance Dr. Ken Ngangan confirmed the instruments to facilitate the payments has been signed and funds are expected to be released today (Thursday 20/07/16).        
Government MPs boarding at Jackson's Airport for Alotua. Image Credit: Ruth Magape/Port Moresby/July 2016.
The breaking news of this planned payment went viral on social media (Facebook) as the nation was waiting to hear the outcome of the Vote of No-Confidence of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill tomorrow Friday (21/07/2016) at 10:30am. Mr. O'Neill has been served a warrant of arrest by the courts for alleged public corruption and mismanagement in the office but refused to surrender for police interview. Mr. O'Neill said the allegation against him on public corruption were politically motivated, referring to the Opposition for behind the move. The Prime Minister also accused the Opposition members for instigating the students unrest recently at the national universities in which one student has been killed by fellow students at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology in Lae.     
Critics from Facebook labelled this payout in direct association with buying the Government MPs to remain and vote for Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister today when the Vote of No Confidence motion is moved at 10:30am (PNG Time). Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill also said the cost of Government team flying to Alotau for retreat is funded by his People's National Congress Party (PNC) and not from government coffers as claimed by Opposition.   
Government MPs boarding at Jackson's Airport for Alotua. Image Credit: Ruth Magape/Port Moresby/July 2016.
On the 10th May 2016, the Vice-Minister for Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs Joe Sungi said members of Parliament are not moving to the other side of the house because of the District Services Improvement Programs (DSIP) Funds and Provincial Services Improvement (PSIP) funds they have been receiving. 
"We are not interested on who will become the Prime Minister but all we are concerned about was the DSIP funds," says Sungi. 

He said if any new Prime Minister who wants to change this concept will not be voted. 
"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," Mr. Sungi said. "The reason is because DSIP fund is there that's why we will be in the Government and support the O'Neill-Dion Government. Its not about your number of qualifications you have to lead the Government, so long as you have the money, you will master the numbers," Member for Nuku Open and National Alliance Party man said. 

There is already a perception that this K3-million payout to each men and women MPs at Alotau Retreat is to lure MPs to join the Government team and vote for Peter O'Neill as the Prime Minister to remain. The Government is seeing this Vote of No-confidence has greater impact in preparation for next year's general election. 

Government MPs boarding at Jackson's Airport for Alotua. Image Credit: Ruth Magape/Port Moresby/July 2016.
Government MPs boarding at Jackson's Airport for Alotua. Image Credit: Ruth Magape/Port Moresby/July 2016.
In an exclusive interview on PNG Tonight NBC Television Show, Mr. O'Neill said 2017 General Election will see differences in the traditional approach. O'Neill further explained that previous governments have spend too much money on the general election, amounting to almost about K500-million and his aim is to reduce the cost to about K300-million. The Government will purchase about 300 new vehicles for police and choppers and fixed-wings for PNG Defence Force  to be used during election.

While the next General Election is few months away, O'Neill feels comfortable with his number and seemingly wanted to remain in power until graduate.. Polye-led opposition team. 

After the 2012 General Elections - Former Prime Ministers supporting PNC Leader Peter O'Neill to form new Government. Image. Supplied.


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