Ilau’s changes ‘improper, illegal’

National, Normal

CHANGES made over the weekend at the PNG Defence Force authorised by Commander Peter Ilau were improper and illegal, top officials in the Defence ministry and Department said yesterday.
The officials said Commodore Ilau, whose term expired on Oct 13 and who is currently acting commander of the PNGDF, had no authority to make the changes.
On Saturday, a parade was held to farewell Lt Col Siale Diro as Commanding Officer of Taurama barracks, home of the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment.
Lt Col Diro is to move to Defence headquarters to be director of land operations.
Replacing him at Taurama barracks is Major Emmanuel Todick.
It is understood Major Todick was promoted from Major to Lt Col to take up this post.
The officials said during a meeting of the Defence council on Oct 1, Commodore Ilau brought a submission for the council’s approval for the changes to go ahead.
But Defence Minister Bob Dadae, who is chairman of the council, told the commander and secretary Fred Punangi that any promotions or changes would have to wait until a new commander of the PNGDF was appointed.
“The submission was put on hold. It was not approved,” the officials said.
Last Thursday, Mr Dadae received an instrument for the proposed changes at Taurama barracks but did not sign it and immediately wrote to the commander advising him that the changes should not go ahead.
“What has happened (on Saturday) is improper and illegal.”
Commander Ilau, Mr Punangi and Mr Dadae make up the Defence council, with Mr Dadae as the chairman.
Department officials said Mr Punangi was aware that the changes were not to take place.
“Secretary Punangi is a member of the council and is aware that all changes have been put on hold.”
They also said Mr Punangi had been busy trying to raise funds to carry out troop changeover at the border.
Troop, or company changeover, occur after three months at Kiunga and Vanimo.
The PNGDF normally uses its aircraft to ferry troops from Port Moresby to Kiunga, and Wewak to Vanimo, for rotation every three months.
With the aircraft down with mechanical problems, the rotation that was due had been delayed by two months already, and this was causing frustration.
The department did not have money for this and needs K160,000 to charter planes.
Asked where the PNGDF got the money to fund two recent trips by tops officials to New York and Hawaii in the US, they said about K200,000 was moved from pension funds to fund these trips.