THE Legislative Assembly has this week approved for the appointment of People's Representatives,'Akilisi Pohiva and Dr. Sitiveni Halapua to lead a special parliamentary committee that will reviewthe work of the Nuku'alofa Development Corporation.
The NDC was set up to manage the reconstruction of the Central Business District of Nuku'alofa,following destructions during the riots of 2006.
The reconstruction of the CBD is financed through a loan of T$118 million pa'anga, which theTonga Government took out from China's EXIM Bank.
The motion was tabled in Parliament by the Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano.
“Pohiva and Dr. Halapua shall form a special parliamentary committee which will work alongside an independent attorney and the Auditor General,” stated the Prime Minister's proposal.
“The purpose of this exercise is not an investigation, but to gather verifiable information to determine the work carried out so far under the NDC, which the public has a right to know.”
Management of the project was handed over to private contractors in May 2009.
Acting Speaker of the House Lord Tu'i'afitu called the motion a “good sign from Government”.
“This shows Government is moving towards more transparency, and that it values cooperation with the House,” he said.
In outlining his motion to Parliament, the Prime Minister added that the mission will be funded by development partners such as the World Bank and ADB. The special parliamentary committee may co opt technical experts from outside as it sees fit.
Six key terms of reference will guide the review, including finding the exact amount of funding allocated to the NDC under the former Government and the original plan for dispensing the funds; how much of the funds have been spent to date and the completed outputs; the amount of funding left and the plans for it; details about the companies contracted for the reconstruction work, including their tender and recruitment process; and finally, the governance and management procedures of the NDC, including how timelines, milestones and outputs are reported to Cabinet.
An earlier review of the NDC carried out in May was deemed insufficient in fulfilling the terms of reference provided by Government.