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Missing $500k surplus questioned

Wednesday October 29, 2014 Written by Published in Politics

The opposition questioned the government on the alleged disappearance of equipment and materials used during the construction of the Telecom Sports Arena (TSA) stadium in Nikao.

Acting Leader of the Opposition William Heather of the Democratic Party asked Takuvaine Member of Parliament and Minister of Sport Mark Brown whether he was aware that the equipment – valued at roughly $500,000 - appears to have been removed from the site
“Minister, are you aware that the surplus from the telecom sports centre project was taken by somebody, and not publically tendered?” asked Heather.
In response, Brown – also the Minister of Finance – said he inherited the title of Minister of Sport when the project had already been completed and overseen by a Demo Government.
Not having the information at hand, Brown asked Speaker Niki Rattle for leave to gather information to answer the question, and said he will be able to respond to Heather in Parliament today.
The construction of the TSA stadium, undertaken by government to provide a venue for 2009’s hosting of the Pacific Mini Games - cost taxpayers $8.4 million and was completed over half a decade ago.
Speaking outside of the Parliamentary chamber, Heather said he intends to draft a formal letter to the Audit Office over the matter.
“Nobody knows where that material has gone,” he said.
The surplus equipment and material was said to include welding rods, steel rods, steel sheets, cement mixers, wheel barrows, and concrete dumpers.
Referring to his involvement in the Demo government in power during the construction, Heather said: “When I was Minister, everything was still at the TSA property”.

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