|Subject: Arrogant Don Polye has done it again.
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Date Posted: Tue, Sep 04 2007, 11:23:52am
Don Polye has staffed up UPNG and UOG in the last session and has done it again to serve his cohorts and encourage corruption....
THE head of the Works Department Alphonse Niggins has been sacked by Minister Don Polye.
Mr Polye has brought in Joel Luma, who has been without a job for eight years, and was allegedly implicated in a scandal in the department, headed by Mickey Tamarua over eight years ago. He was believed to have been cleared of allegations of corruption after an investigation.
This move has raised eyebrows in the Government’s top circle, as Mr Niggins’ removal and the appointment of Mr Luma occurred while MR Polye was a caretaker Minister. The changes were also done without cabinet approval, sources said.
Mr Niggins was not warned about his removal, and turned up at his office last week to find a new man had taken over. He confirmed he had been replaced, but refused to comment on.
The instrument confirming the removal of Mr Niggins was published on Aug 28, a day before Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare appointed his full cabinet.
The relationship between Mr Niggins and Mr Polye has not been a cordial one, with former refusing to approve project proposals worth millions of kina pushed by the Transport ministry before the elections.
Mr Niggins’ appointment as Secretary for Works was in fact, revoked by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in July following a National Court ruling, which found he could not hold office.
But the PSC in its July 2007 decision, endorsed a proposal to appoint him on an acting basis “in the interest of the department and for continuity purposes” until a substantive appointment is made by the National Executive Council.
The process for appointing a new secretary has not been completed, with a public notice stating that applications for the post were to close on Sept 7 — three days from today.
Sources said the appointment of Mr Luma was done outside the process and without Cabinet approval, opening the way for legal action by Mr Niggins.
Within days of being appointed, Mr Luma announced sweeping changes to the senior management of the department, replacing the deputy secretaries (Technical and Corporate Services) and is reviewing the appointment of Works managers in the provinces.
Mr Luma said there was a need “to reorient the service delivery process” and these changes were necessary pending the restructure of the department.
He has also made obsolete the position of assistant secretary - field co-ordination, which was crucial to overseeing the development of projects funded by key development partners AusAID, World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
A top Government official contacted yesterday said the Prime Minister’s Office and Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari were not consulted or made aware of the changes.
Mr Luma was refused entry into a meeting of departmental heads last Friday, which was chaired by Mr Lupari.
The source said Mr Lupari told Mr Luma that he was not aware of his appointment and did not recognise him as the head of the department.
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