Disobedience angers O’Neill

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday July 10th, 2013

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill cracked the whip yesterday pulling up department heads, night clubs and tinted government vehicles.

Angry at obvious disobedience of past directives, O’Neill barred by name seven department heads from overseas travel for the rest of this year and directed that from today, all tinted government vehicles would have the tints removed, including police vehicles.

He further directed that all night clubs operating throughout the country be closed by 2am or their owners would be hauled off to jail (see story page 2).

Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc  said the travel restrictions followed excessive travel by affected officials in the last six months.

Placed on restriction are;

  • Department secretaries John Kali (Personnel Management), Lawrence Kalinoe (Attorney General and Justice), Paulias Korni (Communication and Information) and John Porti (Defence); 
  • Betty Palaso (Commissioner General, Internal Revenue Commission); 
  • Mataio Rabura (chief Immigration Officer); and 
  • Peter Vincent (chief executive officer, Tourism Promotion Authority).

Sir Manasupe reminded them of the travel moratorium imposed and outlined in a government circular at the beginning of this year. 

The moratorium on overseas travel by senior officials was imposed following concern over the large amount of money – between K20 million and K40 million – spent annually before 

2013 on overseas travel by public servants.  

“These funds have been reallocated to delivery of essential services. 

“As a departmental head your primary responsibility is leadership of the department. 

“Any absences from the department have significant effects on staff morale and productivity,” Sir Manasupe said. 

“It has come to the attention of Government that when compared with other department heads you have undertaken far more travel this year. 

“Due to the large amount of travel that you have already undertaken this year I have been instructed by the prime minister that you are not permitted to undertake any further  travel for the rest of the year.  

“No exceptions will be made. 

“I expect that you will be in PNG for the rest of the year.”