Former Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, has rejected claims the Government lost millions during the last South Pacific Games hosted by Samoa.
Faumuina issued the denial yesterday when Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Va’ai, called on the Government to screw the computers to the tables so that critical financial information about the Pacific Games next year, do not disappear.
But this did not sit well with Faumuina. Rejecting reports about the losses, he claimed in Parliament yesterday that they had more than $8million left from what was budgeted for the Games in 2007.
Faumuina made the point when the handling of accounts from the last South Pacific Games hosted by Samoa surfaced during the discussion of the Bill to establish the Pacific Games Office.
The Bill was tabled by the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio.
Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, highlighted his concerns about what happened in the past.
“The health sector should be vigilant given there are numerous diseases and there is a need for us to be prepared,” he said.
“In terms of financial data, we must learn from what happened in the past.”
Olo claimed that laptops which contained critical financial reports were lost.
“I urge the Minister to ensure that the computers they use in the office are screwed permanently on the desks in case they also go for a walk and leave the office again,” he said.
“I also ask that the Office should invest in a heavy duty computer where no one can carry the computer from the office.”
That’s when Faumuina took the floor. He clarified that no computers were lost from the last South Pacific Games.
“There was an audit of accounts and computers in question was donated to S.A.S.N.O.C. for their operation,” he said.
“There was over $8 million that was left from the operation and everything was accounted for. There is an audit to prove that.”
Faumuina was the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure at the time.
Olo disagreed. He insisted that the Government lost millions from hosting the Games.
Faumuina interjected again.
“Looking at the records, $3.5 million was transferred over to the government’s financial budget for the 2007-2008 financial years,” explained Faumuina.
The Bill, tabled by Minister Loau, seeks to establish the Pacific Games Office.
It passed after the third and final reading.
According to the memorandum of the bill, the Pacific Games Office is responsible for the organising and management of the 2019 Pacific Games and to provide for other matters incidental to the 2019 Pacific Games.
“The objects of the Bill are:
(a) to establish the Pacific Games Office and provide for its functions and powers;
(b) to establish the Executive Committee and Pacific Games Organising Committee and their functions and powers;
(c) to provide for official sponsors for the 2019 Pacific Games;
(d) to provide for tax and duty exemptions in relation to the 2019 Pacific Games.”
Last month Cabinet has appointed Falefata Hele Ei Matatia, 34, as the Chief Executive Officer.
In accordance with the newly approved bill, it empowers the Executive Committee to appoint staff and personnel of the Office to assist with the proper functioning of the Office.
Also provides that the Office may recruit volunteers from the community and further empowers the Chairperson and the Chief Executive Officer to take such action to ensure that safety of Games Officials, safe conduct of Games and provide for the needs of Games Official and participants.
“Empowers the Executive Committee to delegate to the C.E.O. or any appropriate person certain functions and powers.
“The C.E.O. is also authorise to delegate to any employee of the Office his or her functions and powers.
The bill also “provides that members and staff of the Office or Committees and volunteers are not liable for any act or omission occurring in good faith when exercising their powers, functions and duties.”
According to the bill, The C.E.O. must submit a corporate plan and an annual report to Cabinet.
The duty of the Office to keep proper accounts and records of its transactions and affairs in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act 2001 and government procedures.
Also the Pacific Games Office holds all media rights to the Games and empowers the Executive Committee to authorise person or persons to broadcast or make sound recording of any Games Event.
“It is an offence if a person broadcasts, telecasts, transmits, makes sound recording without authorisation under clause 18 and breaches any other media rights.
“Empowers the Executive Committee to authorise a person to use the Games Indicia and the SPGC Indicia and such authorisation must be in writing.”
The bill provides that all rights to intellectual property arising from preparation for the Games is vested in the Office.