13 Nov 2015

Ministry spending under scrutiny in Cooks

3:20 pm on 13 November 2015

The Ministry of Cultural Development in the Cook Islands has come under scrutiny after an allegation of the misuse of public funds in the lead up to and during the recent Te Maeva Nui celebrations.

Cook Islands dancers at te maeva nui for the 50th anniversary of Cooks self governance

Cook Islands dancers at te maeva nui for the 50th anniversary of Cooks self governance. Photo: RNZ Sally Round

The Public Service commissioner Russell Thomas says he received a complaint in early September and met with former MOCD secretary Sonny Williams to let him know that he was referring the matter to the Audit office.

The Audit office director Alan Parker says the investigation is also looking at some aspects of the previous and current financial years, as well as the Ministry's payments on behalf of the Crown (POBOCs).

Anthony Turua, who has been heading the Ministry for the past month, says financial documentation has been removed by the Audit office for examination.

It's understood there were issues at the Ministry with payment of staff.

There's also reports of exorbitant fees being charged by some individuals who provided services during the 50th anniversary of self governance in August.

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