Out in the cold

Main Stories, National


FORMER Defence Force commander Peter Ilau feels he has been dumped by the Government and an organisation which he has served loyally for 34 years.
After serving eight years as commander of the PNGDF, Cmdr Ilau was replaced in February by Francis Agwi.
Cabinet decided on the change.
Since he left his post and moved out of the Flagstaff House, the commander’s official residence at Murray Barracks, he has not received his entitlements.
He and his family were left to fend for themselves six days after moving out after a PNGDF cheque paid to him was cancelled without warning.
Cmdr Ilau and his family are currently residing in a three-bedroom flat at Gordon, paid from his own pocket at K2,500 per week.
He said the PNGDF had failed in its obligation to pay for his three-month transition as normal for outgoing PNGDF commanders, which allowed them to prepare for their final settlement of choice. He has so far paid three months of accommodation which will expire at the end of this month while PNGDF has yet to respond as obligated, and continues to wait patiently despite a Defence council assurance through the  Defence Minister.
In the first five days of departing Flagstaff House, Cmdr Ilau and his family were on the streets, however, with the intervention of “some good Papua New Guineans”, he managed to move into a flat on the sixth day.
“All real estate agents approached refused to accept Government cheques,” he said.
“More dramatic was the fact that the original cheque issued for my transition rentals was cancelled and put to a stop by Defence secretary Fred Punangi immediately the next day.
“To this day, no reason has been given for the continuing delay.
“My packing container box remains at Murray Barracks due to unpaid repatriation cost entitlements.
“The National Government has yet to decide on my future deployment.
“Appropriate letters to the secretary for Personnel Management, chief secretary and Treasurer have not been answered.”
He has denied taking any stuff out of Flagstaff House, and is keeping his contract vehicle, a Hummer, because he wants to pay for it.
“The Transport Department has advised on the depreciation rate of the vehicle on a monthly basis.
“I, being still a serving officer, continue 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.
“The vehicle selling price from Boroko Motors was K230,000 and not K350,000 as reported and claimed by Gen Singirok.
“The actual price was K170,000.
“Hence, the depreciated value will be calculated from the purchase price plus the number of months of previous usage.”