Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Fataleka has denied receiving the $1.5million under the shipping grant.
Steve Abana made the clarification following calls by Chief Andrew Balasi alleging he received $1.5m shipping grant in 2017.
Mr Abana described Balasi’s call as incorrect and misleading.
But in a statement to Solomon on Tuesday, Mr Abana explained during his tenure as the MP for Fataleka, he never received any shipping grant.
He said the $1.5m Mr Balasi was referring to was for a funding under the Constituency Machinery Grant [CMG] and not shipping grant as alleged.
He explained normally the funding is $5m for each constituency to own adequate fleet of civil works machineries.
“I applied for the machines to fix the 5 kilometer manpower road from Atori to Manu but only $1.5m was allocated.
“But in 2017 Government was only able to make a partial payment of $1.5m. Last year due to Government’s weak cash flow it fails to release a further $3.5million to complete the full payment.
“So I didn’t use the money because $1.5m is just not enough to buy the required machineries for a road project.
“The $1.5m can only cater for one new excavator, so it’s no use to buy just one excavator because it can’t be used for the road project,” Mr Abana said.
He said there is a contract in place between the former MP, Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID), Finance and Auditor General.
Now that he is no longer the MP, the only option is to pay back the money to the Government, he added.
According to Abana, he has already written to MID about the issue.
“The most appropriate thing to do now is to repay the fund ($1.5m). It’s no use buying one machine so I have decided to repay the money back to Finance,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI