Niningi: No hike in fees

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By GYNNIE KERO
THE interim council of the University of PNG is scheduled to meet today to appoint an acting vice-chancellor, and immediately freeze the planned increase in compulsory fees.
Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Pila Niningi on Monday appointed lawyer Jeffery Dean Kennedy as chancellor, company director Jerry Wenim as pro-chancellor, and eight other council members to run the affairs of the university for the next 12 months.
It came after the sidelining of acting chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann, acting vice-chancellor Vincent Malaibe and the university council on Monday for what Niningi described as “a failure to respond to queries he had raised on certain matters” regarding the institution.
The interim council members are Kennedy, Wemin, an acting vice-chancellor (ex officio) to be appointed today, lawyer Dr John Kuwimb, chartered accountant Theresa Bob, governance and finance expert Rose Teria, chartered accountant Sinton Spence, Emeritus Professor Terry Evans, Australian-based education consultant Dr Vernon Crew and economic development and governance consultant Dr Paul Gadek. All were issued their appointment letters on Monday.
Niningi said the interim council members were randomly selected “in consultation with professionals”.
Efforts yesterday to get comments from Mann and Malaibe were not successful.
Niningi said the decision was made “to restore the reputation” of the university.
He said he had been writing to the council seeking information on various matters which had come to his attention related to the running of the institution.
He said he had queried allegations of fraud, the non-completion of the building for the science faculty, and funds allegedly unaccounted for.
He has also queried what was being done on complaints raised by a student against a lecturer, and a staff member against a department head.
“The university is (also) run down and to make matters worse, they (council members) refused to give me a list of their appointments when I asked for it. I wrote to them and requested for it among other things but they failed (to respond). That is the reason for the blanket suspension. So an interim council was appointed and will work for the next 12 months,” he said.

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