Former VC facing K41 million charge

National

EAST New Britain police have charged the former vice-chancellor of University of Natural Resources and Environment Prof Philip Siaguru with 12 counts of abuse of office relating to K41 million worth of contracts.
Siaguru was charged by police on Monday after a complaint by former UNRE pro vice-chancellor George Bopi.
An internal investigation report sanctioned by UNRE governing council implicated Siaguru, 55, from Kwapun village, Boiken, East Sepik, and other senior management staff as well as a number of contractors.
Acting police commander Joseph Tabali said the first phase of the investigation established the defendant, being the vice-chancellor and chairman of the UNRE tenders’ committee,  had executed contracts for various building projects well over its designated threshold of K500,000.
Between 2009 and 2014, the committee awarded 12 contracts ranging between K800,000  and K16 million up to a total value of K41 million.
The projects were funded by the Department of National Planning under its public investment programme.
Tabali said the purported contracts were implemented without following established PIP guidelines as well as beach of the Public Finance Management Act.
The purported contracts bypassed the East New Britain and national supply and tenders board, and National Executive Council, for tenders valued at K10 million and above.
Witnesses in the investigation claimed the defendant had used his position to bulldoze those contracts without due regard to lawful procedures.
A police interview with the defendant took place on Monday at the Ralum police headquarters and he chose to remain silent.
He was formally arrested and charged and placed under police custody.
The second phase of the investigation will cover monetary and corruption issues and is continuing.

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