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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Papua New Guinea Blogs: The Top Secret Sevua Report

(The last sentence of the piece seems to suggest the report will not be released. Follow the link to the original, and you will find my comment. AS)

Papua New Guinea Blogs: The Top Secret Sevua Report

In late January 2013 Prime Minister O’Neill announced there would be an inquiry to investigate the growing problems at Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology (UNITECH). The report produced by respected Judge Sevua was to be the road forward and the final word on a saga that had been slowly growing and exposing to the world the widely acknowledged massive corruption that had taken over the leadership of this once fine university.

The Sevua report was given promise to resolve everything peacefully and provide hope for the future. Treasury Minister Don Polye promised that he would solve the problem without further need for disruption of classes. Minister Polye, who had served in earlier governments as Minister for Higher Education, was appointed by our Prime Minister to fill in for fellow THE Party member Minister David Arore, who stepped down temporarily from the HERST ministry to deal with corruption allegations back in his home Oro Province.

The Sevua investigation and submission of the report took place so many months ago. Instead of the process making things clear, the Sevua inveigation has been allowed to become nothing more than a new saga that adds to the long line of pretentious statements, secret deals and childish behaviours that became symbolic of the PNG University of Technology for so many years under former vice chancellor Misty Baloiloi and which continues to dirty the name of PNG and its institutions of higher learning.

First is the matter of who approved and who should implement the Sevua report. It seems there was an endless circle, maybe on purpose, for this report to move around before it can be implemented. Approval by NEC we can all understand, but what is all this talk about the report going before parliament for further approval. Or not? Once the

report got to Department of HERST and the Office of Higher Education then what was supposed to happen? Who was to implement the recommendations? Even of greater concern, because the investigations was not an official inquiry under the law, what power did the report have to resolve anything?

How was the much talked about Sevua investigation into a very public and destructive saga allowed to become a top secret report.Even more puzzling is how can a secret report with secret recommendations be implemented to resolve a public saga that requires public peacemaking.The depressing clown story that has dominated the PNG University of Technology of the University for so many years continues as today’s laughingstock.

It appears that sticks are flying at HERST to beat down and keep the Sevua report from raising its truthful head high enough to be noticed,much less acted upon. At best, the current craziness seems to be caused by an inattentive Prime Minister, an ineffective Acting HERST Minister (Don Polye) and a pretense for intellect HERST Minister (David Arore) whose child vocabulary and immature actions make a mockery of the entire Papua New Guinea university system. If there is any type of PNG institution where politics absolutely should not be left to the horsetrading, power seeking, wealth stealing leaders of our nation, it is our institutions of higher learning. The pompous and pretentious intellectualism of Ministers Polye and Arore of THE Party became evident long ago by the twisted and warped logic that led to the “THE” name of their political party. Now it seems that their warped sense of intellect spills over to contaminate what could and should have been a straightforward transparent seeking of what is really going on with our PNG University of Technology.

It is long past time for this banana republic style nonsense to stop.Our leaders seem to ignore the realities of the global world in that other universities and overseas academics read our newspapers online, have the ability to create useful ties with our PNG universities (or not) and are used to doing things honestly, openly and professionally. While it is all too easy in PNG for leaders and bureaucrats alike to dismiss allegations as mere lies told by jealous people, the overseas audience is not so easily fooled as to think that much ado about something can be so easily dismissed as nothing. Obviously the PNG University of Technology is in a leadership mess from then til now. No amount of pretending otherwise covers up the realities.

Always the Sevua report was supposed to solve the saga of university corruption once and for all. Maybe it was hoped that either a corrupt person would head the inquiry or Judge Sevua could be bought off. Wrong on both counts! From all reports, Judge Sevua carried out his mission with integrity and he clearly sought the truth and nothing but the truth.

It seems that desperate people are trying to keep the report hidden.Prime Minister O’Neill has promoted himself as fighting corruption and mismanagement, yet his inaction now keeps secret one of PNG’s greatest stories of corruption and mismanagement that extends back to the Somare, Morata, Skate and Chan governments. Has anything really changed in PNG to fight corruption? Get the university back on track dear leaders. We want our kids to get a good education at university and not find themselves thrust into an endless environment of distraction and gossip that will continue as long as the Sevua report is kept under wraps.

Let the words of the report speak for itself as the ugly and painful truth we all need to hear about the PNG University of Technology.If any of you are leaders of integrity you will release the Sevua report now.

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