THE SAGA OF 45 MISSING APEC VEHICLES AND OTHER ASSETS


by SIR ARNOLD AMET

"Several months ago, after APEC, the Secretary for Finance took out full page advertisements in the two daily newspapers, urging state agencies and individual employees of of state agencies, to return APEC assets they had in their possession or custody.

"Today in the headlines of the National newspaper, again the Secretary is urging government departments which may be using 45 vehicles, which are reported to be missing, to return them.

"When the advertisements were taken out early in the year, I resisted the temptation to ask this obvious question, but now that the Secretary is again stating that, 'All departments had been instructed early this year to return all the vehicles', I ask it. Mr. Secretary does your department and other relevant APEC office not have a record of who the motor vehicles and other assets were distributed to for service during APEC, such that you have to take out expensive advertisements and now report that “ '45 vehicles are missing?' "

"Mr. Secretary did the APEC organization not keep any records or what assets were donated or purchased and who they were distributed to for use during APEC? It just seems so basics to governance requirement for accountability that we keep records of these expensive assets as to who they were distributed to for use. If there were done, then surely Mr. Secretary, you simply need to use your executive authority to instruct the relevant agencies and individuals to return them a long time ago.

"Quite obviously, it would seem we did not do this, which begs a whole of questions and issues, such as who was managing all of these, that now 8 months into 2019 you have to make public plea for these assets and vehicles to be returned. Somebody in the APEC organization surely kept some record of who were issued these assets. But perhaps that is too much to expect. We did not keep any records so you now are taking out paid advertisement and issuing press statements.

"Bilateral development partners and other donor agencies who donated some of these assets must be laughing at us. How embarrassing this is.

"The other related issue is that of outstanding payments to service providers, for the provision of various service for APEC. This happens all the time with major events, such as during elections, natural disasters and international sports and so on. Again, simple question come to mind; did we budget properly for these services or do we just go ahead and commit these expenses and then struggle continually to find money to settle these. Most of the time, these are our small to medium enterprises, who need these payments.

"Just some observations about our public governance responsibilities."

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