Hundreds of cars have been ‘claimed through unlawful means’ in Papua New Guinea after being loaned to officials for use during the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
Primarily missing are various vehicles like Landcruisers, Fords, Mazdas, and Pajeros, PNG’s Superintendent Dennis Corcoran told Reuters, but dozens of Maserati Quattroportes and even a handful of Bentleys were also among the loan cars.
The nation’s government was criticised for its use of the expensive vehicles during the summit, with a rise in polio and tuberculosis, and low funding for healthcare causing protests according to a Guardian report.
Images of the fleet of Maseratis added fuel to the proverbial fire, but Superintendent Corcoran says those cars have been returned.
“There are 284 vehicles ... that were issued to personnel to use during APEC that haven’t been returned as yet,” Corcoran told Reuters.
“All 40 of the Maseratis and the three Bentleys are in top condition and locked away in the old wharf shed down on the main wharf.”
A PNG police spokesperson added that many of the unreturned vehicles are being used by public servants who haven’t returned them, or are sitting in various government lots, but that nine cars have been specifically stolen.
As for those still in the possession of government officials, Corcoran said in a statement that they must be returned to avoid prosecution.
"The state assets especially vehicles purchased by government agencies and authorised for certain purposes have been claimed by certain individuals through unlawful means.”
A list of each car’s specific assignment should allow each car to be found relatively easily, Corcoran believes, despite the sheer number of vehicles to be recovered.