Govt office tender under the spotlight

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AN Ombudsman Commission investigation into the government office allocation committee reveals that proper processes were not followed in the engagement of a firm to build a 32-floor Government office complex at Waigani.
The report which was tabled in Parliament yesterday revealed that the decision by the committee to engage Central Land Limited to build the Central Government office complex in Port Moresby was improper.
The report said the committee was wrong in obtaining Cabinet endorsement of the company which was outside of the procurement process provided in the Public Finance Management Act.
It said the committee did not
ask Cabinet to re-tender the company’s proposal in line with the legislation but proceeded to sign a memorandum of understanding with the firm.
It facilitated the engagement of the company on the construction of the building which should have been done by the Central Supply Tenders Board.
The report stated that there was a non-compliance of tender requirements, and provisions of the Act on the facilitation of the proposal and engagement of the firm to build the office complex.
The report recommended that the committee, through the then Minister for Public Service Sir Puka Temu, informed Cabinet of the State Solicitor’s advice for the Central Government Office Complex to be procured by CSTB in accordance with the Act.

 

Source :  The National

Govt given K20mil to districts hit by earthquake, says PM

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By HELEN TARAWA

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the Government has so far released K20 million to the districts affected by the earthquake.
“Government within days (of the earthquake) made a commitment of more than K450 million over the next three to four years which will have to fund its budget to make sure that we rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by the earthquake,” he said. “I want to give the example of the enormity of the challenge that is ahead of us. It’s not an easy task to rebuild communities and its does not require it to be politicised so that the sufferings of our people are being undermined.
“We got a report from the Hela province for the first time of the infrastructure that has been destroyed as per the assessment by experts on the ground. It amounts to well over K200 million. That is the lower end of the figures. It will take quite a substantial amount of money to rebuild and we will do it with the provinces being affected.”
He will table a report on the K59 million given by donors.
O’Neill told North Fly MP James Donald in Parliament that the district had been allocated funding too because it was affected by the earthquake.
On the K50 million funding from Ok Tedi Mining Limited to the earthquake relief fund, O’Neill said the company had corporate responsibilities to the nation and not only to Western.
“That is why in its own wisdom made this K50 million contribution. The restoration committee tells me that supplies are already reaching remote communities including Nomad (in Western).
“We are trying to ensure that relief efforts cover the entire province. We will do everything possible so that the relief supplies reach the communities.”

 

Source  :  The NATIONAL

2018 Commonwealth Games: Diversity prominent in opening ceremony on Gold Coast

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The New Zealand team arrives at the Opening Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium.

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The New Zealand team arrives at the Opening Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium.

 Diversity, or something like it, permeated the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

There was a strong indigenous presence throughout the celebration at Carrara Stadium on Wednesday night, starting with an Aboriginal family kicking off the countdown. William Barton, one of Australia’s leading didgeridoo players, made a call out to Australia from atop the Q1 skyscraper in Surfers Paradise, the Seven Sisters Aboriginal creation story featured, there was a smoking ceremony and a welcome to country was made by Yugambeh elder Ted Williams.

It was a good way to show and educate both Australians and visitors the culture of the native people. It can also be easy to get caught up in that sort of sentiment on what was a night of celebration.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 04:  Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth ...

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GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 04: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium.

 But the events of earlier in the day during the Queen’s Baton relay provided a stark juxtaposition.

At lunchtime, host broadcaster Channel 7 had to break their coverage of the Queen’s Baton relay into a split-screen. On one screen was the arrival of Prince Charles at Brisbane Airport. On the other was about 50 indigenous protesters from the “Stolenwealth Games” group lined up across a barren and empty stretch of Seaworld Drive, in an area of the Gold Coast called The Spit, to delay the relay by an hour. They want Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to start a “Truth Commission”.

Last year, Turnbull rejected a call for a referendum to establish an indigenous advisory body in the constitution, saying such a measure would not win support across the country. The protests continued before the opening ceremony, with the protesters corralled into an area near about a dozen portaloos, hundreds of metres from Carrara Stadium. Similar protests occurred at the 1982 Brisbane Games and 2006 Melbourne Games.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and 
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wave to athletes during the Opening Ceremony for the ...

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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wave to athletes during the Opening Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium.

 It’s an incredibly complex issue and one which cannot be given a full examination in this story, but it is important to acknowledge there is a deeper problem behind the shiny facade of diversity at the opening ceremony.

Back at that happy, smiley opening ceremony, the teams paraded in.

New Zealand were 62nd of the 71 nations to enter at 9:30pm (local time), led by beaming flagbearer Sophie Pascoe. There was a raucous roar from the 35,000-odd crowd, second only to that which greeted host nation Australia, almost certainly aided by some of the more than 40,000 Kiwis who live on the Gold Coast.

 

Source :  Stuff

Cyclone kills sister and father of Auckland man as he arrives in Fiji for his wedding

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Krishneel Goundar and his wife Pavitra at their wedding in Howick in 2017. The pair were planning a second ceremony in Fiji.

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Krishneel Goundar and his wife Pavitra at their wedding in Howick in 2017. The pair were planning a second ceremony in Fiji.

 An Auckland man’s wedding plans turned into two funerals after his father and sister died shortly before his arrival in Fiji.

Mechanic Krishneel Goundar married his wife Pavitra in Howick in 2017 and the pair flew to Fiji on Sunday for their wedding ceremony.

The couple waited for hours at Nadi International Airport for Goundar’s father, Veer Goundar, and sister, Shinal Mudaliar, to pick them up, but they never arrived.

The pair had been crossing a bridge on their way to the airport when currents stoked by Tropical Cyclone Josie swept their vehicle into the fast-moving river.

The car was later found on the side of the road with Mudaliar and Veer Goundar’s bodies inside.

The father and daughter were two of four people killed by Tropical Cyclone Josie in Fiji over the long weekend.

Brett Horsfall, Goundar’s employer and close friend, said a distraught Goundar called him from the airport at 2pm on Sunday.

Horsfall said Goundar was saying, ‘I don’t know what to do’.

“He was stuck at the airport with no family around,” Horsfall said.

“It broke my heart.”

Goundar now had to deal with the death of his family members and find the money to pay for their funerals, Horsfall said.

Horsfall has made Goundar an open-ended offer of leave with pay and has started a Givealittle page to raise further funds for him.

“It hurts when you hear this stuff anyway but when it’s someone that you know and you deal with them every day and you have a laugh, it hits you a little bit harder,” he said.

His great hope was that Goundar and his wife would still be able to have the wedding ceremony with their Fijian friends and family as they wanted.

Horsfall and Goundar became friends three years ago, and Horsfall gave Goundar a job at the Mount Wellington Mag & Turbo store after he moved to Auckland from Palmerston North in 2017.

​Members of Horsfall’s family also flew up from Palmerston North to attend his Howick wedding, which was largely attended by Mudaliar’s extended family in New Zealand.

Goundar had likely spent thousands of dollars on the second ceremony in Fiji, which was set to be a large event stretching over several days that would be attended by more of Goundar’s family, Horsfall said.

Goundar’s sister’s funeral was scheduled for Wednesday and his father’s funeral will be held on Saturday.

With the wedding cancelled, much of that money would not be refunded and he estimated Goundar could now need an amount close to $20,000.

“He’d planned for this with his wife for such a long time,” Horsfall said.

“I don’t know how much he spent this time around on the wedding and I didn’t want to ask.”

 

Source – Stuff

Supermarket staff praised for helping elderly woman targeted by scam

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Carol Sutherland, of Maidstone Countdown in Upper Hutt, helped prevent an elderly woman from been scammed through buying ...

ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Carol Sutherland, of Maidstone Countdown in Upper Hutt, helped prevent an elderly woman from been scammed through buying iTunes cards.

 The elderly woman was shaking and looking as if she was about to burst into tears when she asked supermarket staff for iTunes vouchers.

The staff knew something was wrong.

A checkout operator at Maidstone Countdown in Upper Hutt asked customer services manager Carol Sutherland to grab some more $100 vouchers, because the woman wanted five of them.

Earlier this year, an unidentified man told how his 81-year-old mother-in-law was scammed out of more than $5000 by fraudsters who persuaded her to buy iTunes gift cards.

 “I went down to the stand and on the way back, I thought, ‘This isn’t right’,” Sutherland said.

“I pulled her aside and said, ‘Are these for you? Or have you been asked by someone to get them?’ ”

Scammers use the code on the back of iTunes vouchers to buy Apple goods.

ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Scammers use the code on the back of iTunes vouchers to buy Apple goods.

 At first, the woman said they were for her grandsons, but she looked distressed and was shaking.

Sutherland pressed the woman further and found out she had been called by scammers, who knew where she lived, her name, and what kind of car she drove.

She had already been to Pak ‘n Save and bought $300 of vouchers to give to the scammers.

Apple says on its website that  if someone is approached to use iTunes vouchers for payment outside of the iTunes Store, ...

MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

Apple says on its website that if someone is approached to use iTunes vouchers for payment outside of the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music, they could probably be the target of a scam.

 Countdown staff took the woman to the police station, and an officer took her home.

Store manager Gaye Grossett said Countdown had been aware for a while of the iTunes voucher scam. “We encourage our team to be aware when customers are buying large amounts of iTunes, and to try and ask questions to gauge if they are part of a scam.

“I am incredibly proud of my team for having the foresight to realise that the customer was in distress and needed our help.

“We were able to stop the customer from purchasing the cards and get assistance from the police.”

A police spokeswoman said the victim was rattled by the experience.

“[We] would like to thank the supermarket staff who realised that something was not right, and supported the victim in reporting it to the police. They did exactly the right thing.”

An 81-year-old Hutt Valley woman was tricked into spending thousands on iTunes gift cards in January. Scammers swindled about $5200 from her.

post on the Apple support website says a string of scams have been taking place in which people are asked to make payments over the phone for things such as taxes, hospital bills, bail money, debt collection and utility bills.

Victims typically receive a call “instilling panic and urgency” to make a payment by buying iTunes cards from nearby shops. They are then asked to pay the scammers by sharing the code on the voucher.

Police urged people to ensure they had the verified identity and legitimacy of anyone they were paying money to. If not, they should hang up immediately.

“Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions.

“Your personal details are also very valuable to scammers. They will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can.”

Banks, Immigration New Zealand, Inland Revenue or other government departments never emailed, called or texted customers to ask for money to be sent using money transfer services or vouchers.

“If you receive a request of this nature, it’s a scam.”

Source – Stuff