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|Subject: Re: A further insight to UPNG tender board anomalies
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Date Posted: 02:57:23 01/09/00 Sun
In reply to:
Time to kick arses
's message, "UPNG tender board anomalies" on 17:37:59 01/07/00 Fri
The report in the Independent about the anomalies in the tendering practice is not the first reported of this practice and it is not likely to be the last either. There doesn't seem to be an end to this saga. It appears as if the practice is an accepted part of financial management at UPNG. The litany of investigations into capital work related housing properties and projects gone bad could be summarized as follows.
In 1997 the Auditor General's Office carried out an audit of the Asian Development Funded Housing Project at UPNG. Over three other reports have been carried out under various people on outright bad practices at UPNG. There was one carried out by the Luluaki Committee, another under Dr. Moramora and still another as reported in the Independent when Sukwianomb was Vice Chancellor of UPNG.
After four reports, no one has been named, and punished. In fact many of the reports are so vague about the involvement of individuals that it amounts to a conspiracy of cover up. Perhaps the conspiracy to defraud the university involves very senior and prominent people that the authors are indisposed to name individuals who are close them? It has been suggested that a certain former council member had the university rent apartments from the member at a higher price whilst there was affordable housing at UPNG housing.
The point is that there is known bad administrative practice at UPNG and public resource is involved. The university must be help accountable and punishment metered out to those who abetted and profited from the scandals.
To illustrate one such case, which shows a blatant case of abuse of the contractual law, involves the Asian Development Bank/PNG funded housing project. The project under the Higher Education Project was to build 12 high covenant houses at UPNG, behind the Waigani Primary School. The contract was for K.8 million plus in 1995 kina price. The houses were to be completed in eight months. The project began to experience problems from the beginning. The contractor was advanced funds even before any of the houses were built, in violation of the clause in the contractual agreement, "built and reimbursed on acquittal." In 1996 the PNG Office of Higher Education inquired about the status of the houses because a number of contract staff were due at UPNG then to replace national academics going for long term fellowships. It found that not only was the company behind schedule by more then a year, but it had no funds to continue. Only three houses were 75 % completed. UPNG had then began using its own resources to continue the construction, pay the laborers and at the same the time the former Bursar had written to the Finance Department for K.350 million.
Had it not been for the OHE the houses would not have been built. The point of the matter is that the UPNG Tenders board then chaired by a full Professor totally ignored the contractual agreement with the builder. It advanced much of the funds before construction even started, it allowed a cost over run of more then a million Kina by 1997 and the administration failed to reign in the Tenders Board. Following this, the Auditor General was requested to audit the project and it is understood the report was completed in 1997. What has become of it remains a mystery, but it can be hypothesized that like other previous reports, it to has been swept under the carpet.
UPNG has a duty to be accountable for public funds and decisions it takes in the name of public good. It has to live by its by laws and must clean out the rot in its midst. To do that it needs a strong Vice Chancellor, a complete overhaul of the Council and split its accounting system between academic related matters [Bursary] and developmental [Projects and Properties]. Individuals involved in these scams are known and should be named and indicted. The companies involved should never be given any contracts at the university. The Police Fraud Squad and the Ombudsman Commission should investigate all the scams and publicize the reports as it does for many public cases like the Cairns Conservatory Building. The scandals at UPNG have reached the stage where the national government has to step in and clean out the rot. What is the Minister for Education going to do, throw up his hands and admit helplessness?
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