ACTING premier of Western Province Wayne Maepio has denied allegations he misused provincial funds.
He made the denial after a member of the province’s non-executive bench raised the allegation.
“To say that I misuse provincial funds is not only untrue, but also provocative. I denied the allegations,” Maepio told the Sunday Star.
“It’s a wild assumption from them,” he said in reference to Ramrakha Talasasa of the non-executive bench.
Talasasa claimed that the deputy premier used his position as acting premier to use provincial government funds for political purposes.
“The Western Province Executive meeting which was supposed to be held on the 20th this month but now move to a later date next month will cost the province more than $250,000,” Talasasa claimed.
“Maepio made promises to everyone, including proposals to purchase hiluxes and cash payment of up to $30,000 for those supporting his candidacy as the premier,” he charged.
“Even Maepio hotel bills at Gizo accumulated to more than half a million dollar,” he said.
But Maepio denied all those claims.
“On the claims that I am promising my executive members a hilux plus a $30,000 cash payment is simply untrue.
“I really need them to prove to me if this is true.”
Maepio said he will seek legal action against Talasasa for raising false allegation against him.
“To me this is really defamation of character.
“I don’t accept people using media to accuse me of something that are not true.
“And I am not going to go anywhere, only to the courts to clear my name.
“It is at the courts that the truth will be revealed.”
Maepio said since the province’s budget was passed this year, the executive was only able to spend 25 per cent of the budget on approved activities and programmes.
“So we have spent within the budget requirement.
“I can’t believe how these people can quickly jump the gun and make such baseless accusation.
“I want to tell these people that we (government) are not working alone.
“There is a mother ministry (Provincial government) that does their inspection on our accounts every six months.
“They even do assessment on the Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF). And if anything is wrong they will identify it.
“To date, Western Province are not yet to be disqualified from any project.
“The Bunikalo Fishery Project that they assumed to be disqualified is now running and work will start soon.
“Maybe the fact that the project was delayed caused them to make assumptions that we will be disqualified from the PCFD but that’s not the case.
“I can tell you that there are reasons why this project was delayed. It was because of land disputes which we need to sort out.
“So it is unfair to say that we are carelessly and recklessly doing things at our own accord, well, that is very irresponsible.
“In fact, for the Western Province alone, we have achieved 146 projects.
“In terms for the hotel bill we have never spent any $250,000.
“It’s an allegation dreamed up by Talasasa and his group to tarnish my reputation.”
By Admin/News Desk