3 Mar 2009

Cook Islands police chief tackles Treasury over suspension of funding

4:29 pm on 3 March 2009

The Cook Island's Police Commissioner says there are ongoing problems between a number of government ministries and treasury.

The monthly bulk funding for the police was almost suspended in February as part of an on going problem over an audit of Police for 06/07.

The Commissioner, Pat Tasker, says the audit relates to a time before his appointment when records were somewhat disorganised.

He says they had submitted the audit, but it had been sent back for some further details to be included.

Mr Tasker says the funding suspension is being used as a way of enforcing compliance:

"Prior to the suspension it would have been common courtesy or good business practice to get hold of the head of the ministry, namely the ministry of police, and advise them there was a problem. Rather I was advised by a third party by email, and I believe that was a serious leak from within Treasury, and probably a reflection that they are gleefully laughing at the bulk funding suspension."

Mr Tasker says if the orders to suspend bulk funding for the police had not been rescinded then a great deal of police work would have ground to a halt.

The Solicitor General has confirmed that his office is looking into whether it is legal for Treasury to suspend month funding to government ministries, but work on that topic is continuing.