Minister has lied in Parliament over his involvement in a family company awarded a K27 million contract in dubious circumstances
Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko has a long history of unanswered fraud allegations. Now he is trying to bat away accusations of corruption over a massive K27 million contract awarded to his family company to keep the flowers growing in Port Moresby. But not only has the Minister failed to answer the substantive allegations against him he has misled Parliament and lied to the people.
Tkatchenko [see story below] does not deny that the company he founded, Kitoro No.33, which trades under the name PNG Gardener, is the beneficiary of the K27 million contract.
Nor has he denied that the bid submitted by Kitoro No.33 was the highest among seven competing tenders received by the National Capital District.
The bid was “unquantified and staggering” according to eminent lawyer and MP Alan Marat and contained costings that were “grossly exorbitant, dubious and amount to defrauding the State”.
Instead of answering these allegations directly Tkatchecko has tried to deflect attention by making out that as he has resigned his directors position and handed his shares in the company to his wife, everything is above board.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Kitoro No.33 is still a Tkatchenko family owned and controlled company and the profits made directly benefit Justin. The Minister still has everything to gain from ensuring the success of the company. Whether the shares are held by him directly or his wife makes no difference he is still a direct beneficiary.
It is also completely false for Tkatchenko to claim he resigned his directorship and sold his shares in 2012 as he stated in Parliament:
“I am no longer the director and shareholder since 2012″.
Not true, Justin.
PNG Exposed has obtained documents that clearly show Tkatchenko did not remove himself as a director and shareholder until April 2014 – nearly two years after the election!
Tkatchenko has also lied in Parliament about his involvement in company affairs since the 2012 election:
“I have no working input in the company since I became a member of parliament.”
Not true Justin.
Here you are still signing documents as the company Managing Directpr in February 2013:
Tkatchenko said in Parliament:
“Let’s get our facts right before we start opening our mouths and telling lies and misleading situations about my family company,”
But, as the documents show, it is Tkatchenko who has got his facts wrong, it is Tkatchenko who is telling lies and it is Tkatchenkp who is “misleading situations” [sic]
Source: Post Courier
By ANDREW ALPHONSE
A MASSIVE K27 million contract was awarded to PNG Gardener, a company owned by Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko, to beautify Port Moresby, Parliament was told yesterday.
Rabaul MP Allan Marat suggested during Question Time that Mr Tkatchenko may have used his influence to award the city beautification contract to Kitore No. 3, trading as PNG Gardener, which is allegedly owned by Mr Tkatchenko.
However, Mr Tkatchenko said he had declared his interest to the Ombudsman Commission and was no longer a shareholder or director of PNG Gardener.
Mr Marat had produced documents which showed that seven other companies tendered for the National Capital District Commission contract which PNG Gardener won in January at the cost of K9 million a year for three years – 2015-17, totalling to K27 million.
He claimed that PNG Gardener’s bid was “unquantified and staggering” as it was the highest from the seven others but yet was given the nod by NCDC.
Mr Marat highlighted some exotic scope of work in the report like the K400,000 for the beautification of Erima roundabout, K300,000 for Eight-Mile roundabout, K80,000 for Four-Mile roundabout, K90,000 for Koki roundabout and repainting work and K50,000 for the PNG Institute of Public Administration roundabout, among others.
Mr Marat asked whether the painters, cleaners and gardeners were paid K10,000 to K20,000 as the figures were “grossly exorbitant, dubious and amounts to defrauding the State”.
Mr Tkatchenko responded that PNG Gardener had a proven track record of keeping the city clean in the past 20 years while every legal process was followed.
He said it was not only about putting flowers pots on the roadsides but PNG Gardener employed more than 2000 people fortnightly who sweep and clean the city everyday.
Mr Tkatchenko said he had disclosed his interest in the company to the Ombudsman Commission and ceased to be a director and shareholder when he became an MP in 2012.
He said he operated in a crystal-clear manner and when the tenders’ board sat to award the contract, he had to excuse himself from the meeting.
Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc refused to entertain more questions on the matter when Attorney-General Ano Pala interjected with a point of order which prevented Mr Marat from tabling the report
Minister Tkatchenko has a long history of fraud allegations
Sports and Special Events Minister Justin Tkatchenko is not a fit and proper person to be an MP, let alone a government Minister, given his history of unanswered fraud allegations.
Parliament’s own Accounts Committee and special investigations at the National Capital District have both thrown up detailed allegations of corruption while one criminal prosecution against Tkatchenko was dropped in circumstances questioned by the National Court.
In 2010 it was alleged Tkatchenko received over K3 million in payments from the National Capital District through his landscaping companies Kitoro No.33 and PNG Gardner. It is claimed these payments, were authorised by NCDC Governor Powes Parkop in breach of the Public Finance Management Act, the NCDC Act and the Organic Law on the Leadership Code.
The payments, which were made for work on the NCDC Mini Park, Water Fountain, Waterslide and Zoo and Animal Farm, were made with no quotations provided and no public tendering process – breaching the fundamental principles of value for money, transparency, effective competition, fair and ethical dealing and efficiency.
But the allegations against Tkatchenko go back much further. In 1999 a Special Investigation into Fraud, Corruption and Financial Mismanagement at the National Capital District Commission, done by TSK International, found that Justin Tkatchenko as Acting City Administrator had fraudulently obtained a total of K12,000 through two cheques in the sums of K4,000 and K8,000.
The investigation concluded “Mr Tkatchenko had dishonestly applied the monies to his own use”.
Although the police did investigate these allegations and criminal charges were laid a Magistrate dismissed the case before it got to trial – a decision that was later heavily criticized in the National Court. Indeed when Tkatchenko then sued the police alleging malicious prosecution and false imprisonment Justice Salika not only dismissed the case brought by Tkatchenko he described it as “frivolous and vexatious”. Salika found there was plenty of evidence to justify the charges against Tkatchenko and that it “is a wonder to this Court” why the Magistrate dismissed the case.
In 2003 the Parliamentary Accounts Committee was asked by Parliament to conduct an investigation into alleged corruption in the Parliamentary Service. The Committee submitted its report in September 2003 after summonsing witnesses and hearing evidence given on oath.
The PAC investigation found Justin Tkatchenko company Kitoro No.33 was awarded a K1.5 million contract to maintain parliamentary gardens, in breach of procurement procedure. The Kitoro tender was received 3 months AFTER the closing date. The tender submitted was only for twelve months but a three year contract was awarded. The original contract amount of K490,000 was K190,000 above the limit imposed by the Public Finance Management Act. The lowest bid for the project tender was just K12,000 per year. Kitoro was awarded contract totaling K837,738 that did not go to public tender.
The PAC recommended the contracts with Kitoro No.33 be terminated immediately and the officers responsible for the tendering, awarding and executing of the contract face ‘appropriate action’.
While Tkatchenko has never been found guilty of fraud he has been implicated in fraud in at least three separate investigations stretching back over a 12-year period and one set of criminal charges he has faced were dismissed in circumstances a senior judge regarded as suspicious and unjustified.
If people like Tkatchenko want to hold public office then we need the allegations against to be heard in a proper public trial first – and not dismissed at the committal stage in suspicious circumstances, if they ever even get that far. If they are innocent what do these people have to hide and until they face due process they are not fit and proper persons to hold public office.
The case of Tkatchenko raises a number of serious and wider questions, including:
- The findings of public accounting bodies are not being followed up by the national fraud squad, despite considerable prima facie evidence.
- When cases are brought before the District Court for committal, fraud charges are being dismissed without reason, despite an abundance of evidence being present. There is often no written record of the judgement, or the records kept are wholly inadequate. At the very least this raises serious questions over the independence of some Magistrates.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop has suspended a K318 million contract with the China Harbour Engineering Company. The suspension comes after it was revealed two-weeks ago by PNGExposed that the company was blacklisted by the World Bank and implicated in other corruption scandals.
Read the revelations on PNGExposed that led Governor Parkop to order an investigation.
Read the report on EMTV news about the suspension of the contract.
Watch the video: