A POLICE team is being set up to investigate the corruption allegations made during the recent Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the procurement, supply and distribution of medicine, it has been revealed.
Acting Police Comm David Manning yesterday confirmed receiving a letter from Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Jelta Wong requesting investigation into allegations made at the inquiry.
Manning: There is an understanding between police and the Public Accounts Committee to investigate matters of national interest.
“We are now ready to conduct criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and of the awarding of contracts to companies to deliver medicine to health centres,” he said.
“There is an understanding between the (police) and the Public Accounts Committee to (investigate) matters of national interest.”
The police team is expected to be made up of detectives from the fraud and anti-corruption unit.
Manning said the allegations were made at the inquiry which was a formal parliamentary process, and extensively covered by the media.
The focus will be on the awarding of contracts and the payments made.
“We stand ready to assist the (committee) to further investigate (what had been uncovered),” he said.
He welcomed the role of the committee led by Sir John Pundari and Gary Juffa in holding people accountable in the management of public funds.
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird, who also praised the work of the committee, had pushed Wong in Parliament on Tuesday to do something about the allegations made about the procurement, supply and distribution of medicine.
Wong replied that he had written to Manning for an investigation to be conducted. He said he had received a list of companies and officers implicated in the deals.
He will release the list to police after getting legal advice from State lawyers.
Wong said that “it’s up to the acting COP (Manning) now to get the fraud squad to start investigating these officers”.
“Health is about life and for the last couple of years, it has been compromised (by some) to make money,” he said.
The committee has ended its sittings this year and will resume early in the New Year.
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