CEPA spending big on hire cars

In October 2017, PNGi revealed the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority was spending massive amounts of money on car hire, K2.8 million in 2016 alone.

Now PNGi has been given evidence that a similar disease is afflicting the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.   

CEPA, it seems, spent over K1 million on hire cars in 2017, and most of that money went to Port Moresby based businesses. This is despite CEPA owning a fleet of vehicles for its managers and executives.

The same pattern of expenditure is already establishing itself in 2018.

In April alone, finance documents show K47,520 was paid to Sumb’s Hire Car, K5,280 to No.1 Hire Car, K18,500 to Azad Enterprise K44,000 to Scott Telgpa Hire Cars [based in Hagen] and K48,990 to JJM Hire Cars.

The cheque paid to JJM Hire Cars in April 2018

The payment of K48,990 to JJM Hire Cars is particularly interesting for two reasons.

Firstly, the business name ‘JJM Hire Cars’ is owned by a James Mara and Judiath Degemba. Judiath Degemba shares the same postal address as Merawe Degemba who was, for more than 10 years until 2017, the National Coordinator for the United Nations Development Program in Port Moresby. The UNDP of course does a lot of work with CEPA and provides tens of millions of Kina in project funding and other support.

Secondly, correspondence signed by the CEPA Managing Director, Gunther Joku, states the K48,990 was paid for the use of a vehicle ‘while our vehicle went in for service’.

How could a bill of K48,990 possibly be racked up for the hire of a vehicle to replace one that was in the garage for a routine service?

The same entity, JJM Hire Cars, was paid more than K160,000 by CEPA in 2017.

The Finance Department eventually stepped in and closed down the KPPA, now perhaps they should take a closer look at CEPA.