Nine PNG MPs referred to PNG Ombudsman Commission

NINE PNG members of parliament out of an original 23 listed were yesterday referred to the Ombudsman Commission over unanswered questions about election funding during the 2012 general elections.
The 23, senior ministers, governors and members of parliament, were to have been referred to the Ombudsman Commission yesterday by the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.
Since publication of the story on the front page of The National last Thursday, 14 of the 23 MPs quickly filled in necessary forms and paid in their dues.
Registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu said last Wednesday that failure to reveal their campaign finances amounted to misconduct in office and the MPs could be dismissed from office subject to the Ombudsman Commission’s investigations.
Gelu was out of the country yesterday but one of his staff said only nine MPs – names of whom she would not release – were referred to the Ombudsman Commission.
This is the first time since its inception in 2001 that Section 89 of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates has been invoked, the registry having failed to have done so in 2002 and 2007 elections.
Repeated attempts by the registry to get MPs to comply since August 2012 have fallen on deaf ears, with only 25 doing so by Nov 2012, and the majority doing so this year.
The registry wrote to the 23 MPs in July, reminding them of the need to comply with laws, however, did not receive any positive response and was left with no choice but to make the referral.
The 23 MPs owe more than K500,000 to the government backdated to February this year, from a K2,000 fine and K20 daily fine after that.
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