PAPUA New Guinea’s Ombudsman Commission has frozen public funds which can be misused by politicians for their election campaigning.
Papua New Guinea's National Parliament Building in Port Moresby
However, the decision to freeze the smorgasbord of district and provincial level funds was only made on Friday. Polling for the election starts this weekend.
Prolific tweeter Tavurvur commented that the OC has been invisible for the past 11 months – which is also a reference to this watchdog’s silence during the ongoing constitutional crisis under the O’Neill-Namah government and its campaign against PNG’s judiciary.
“The late freezing of public funds is distasteful,” Tavurvur tweeted.
“Millions have been expended.”
Politicians found in breach of the OC’s recent directions risk a possible jail term exceeding 10 years.
Institute of National Affairs PNG executive director Paul Barker has previously discussed how district funds are misused by election-wary members of parliament.
“Some of the MPs have ensured district funds haven’t been spent earlier and they are sort of left for the last minute so they are able to make as much electoral capital as possible in the lead-up to the elections – which again is not the purpose of district funds – but at the end of the day you tend to see a lot of boats and vehicles appearing often with door stickers saying donated by such and such,” Barker told PNG Report (January edition).