By MALUM NALU
FORMER PNG Defence Force commander Commodore Peter Ilau has broken his silence over allegations that he was responsible for emptying Flagstaff House – the official residence of the PNGDF Commander – of all its contents.
He also explained why he is holding onto his contract vehicle, a Hummer, bought from Boroko Motors.
This follows scathing accusations levelled against him by another former PNGDF commander Major-Gen Jerry Singirok and unnamed sources.
New PNGDF commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi is reportedly unable to move into Flagstaff House because it is empty and the PNGDF has no funds to replenish it.
Cmdr Ilau invited The National at the weekend to his three-bedroom unit at Gordon which he is renting to check out if he had indeed “stolen” the contents of Flagstaff House including furniture, white goods, curtains, cooking utensils, cutlery, chinaware, lounge chairs and other goods.
He was flanked by his daughters, who said their dad and their mother’s safety was now jeopardised because of accusations about something they had never done.
He said he and his family vacated Flagstaff House – which they had occupied since November 2001 – on Jan 29 this year straight after the formal handover and takeover parade for the PNGDF commander.
“Keys were handed back to staff the same day,” Cmdr Ilau said.
“The exit from the house followed normal procedures.
“A final inspection and checks were carried out by appropriate staff including the military assistant to the commander PNGDF, who was also present at the time prior to actual departure.
“Five PNGDF personnel were present to witness me and my family’s departure.
“The house was intact with its normal inventory items.”
He said the Hummer was his contract vehicle and not a support vehicle.
“As is the past and current practice, it is normal for a commander, commissioner or departmental head, particularly constitutional office holders, to have the choice of retaining their contract vehicle.
“In this case, my staff wrote to Transport and Works departments last December to start the process of transfer of ownership.
“Transport had advised on the depreciation rate of the vehicle on a monthly basis.
“I, being still a serving officer, continued to use the vehicle while awaiting proper invoice, and also my own retirement entitlements to sort out the appropriate payments to complete the transfer process.”
He said the vehicle selling price from Boroko Motors was K230,000 and not K350,000 as reported and claimed by Gen Singirok.