Don Polye is a good man. Well that is what we like to believe. The Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare must have faith in this bearded Highlander for he has allowed him to act as Prime Minister when the Chief had left to tackle work overseas for Papua New Guinea in recent months.
And the future looks bright for the man from Kandep, who is seen as the next Prime Minister from the Highlands. The only other Highlands PM was also another bearded man from Western Highlands, Paias Wingti.
Mr Polye is very vocal on corruption. He has gone public many times telling the country that corruption has no place in PNG. At one point in time, he was heard threatening to throw his own family behind bars and throw the keys away, should they get themselves involved in any corrupt dealings involving public funds.
It is comforting to know that today, when the public has lost confidence in the Government and its implementation arm, the public service, there is at least one senior politician who is standing up against this disease that is eating into the very fabric of PNG society.
So that is what we thought. We were shocked and very disappointed yesterday with his announcement in Tambul last Friday in relation to the awarding of contracts for the upgrading and sealing to two major roads in the Tambul/Nebilyer electorate.
Of concern is the awarding of the K6 million contract to Keystar Construction, a company based in Wabag, Enga Province.
Paul Kurai is the owner and managing director of this company. If he is the same man who is seen walking at the back of Mr Polye in the picture on the front page we ran in the paper yesterday, then, it is a worry.
For everyone in Enga and many in PNG know that Paul Kurai is the president of the ruling National Alliance Party branch in Enga.
Mr Polye is the MP for Kandep, an electorate in Enga and he is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Works and Transport in the current Government. He is the leader of the NA Highlands bloc in Government.
Mr Kurai and his executives did a lot of work to win some of the open seats in Enga for the NA in the elections. In the troublesome by-election for Kandep, Kurai and his men were there.
It is accepted that politics in the Highlands is big business. Political power translates into wealth, at least for those who are surrounded by this power.
Due to ignorance, our people accept this game some politicians play and promote it.
Both Kurai and Polye are clearly in a conflict of interest situation here in regards to this contract, because of the positions they hold in the NA party and Government. They cannot pass the buck onto the Central Supply and Tender Board in this matter, for it will not hold water in the public eye.
Some critics will argue that the amount involved is small, that there are many contracts valued much more that may have been given out, in much the same way in the past and there is no problem here. The issue here is not the amount of money that is involved; the issue is the public perception over the manner in which the contract may have been awarded.
We are of the view that the Ombudsman Commission and, we dare other relevant Government agencies, to investigate into this contract. This must be done to clear the two men of any wrong doing.

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