THE reaction from the secretary of the Department of Petroleum and Energy to a front-page report of The National on the memorandum of agreement (MoA) funds leaves a lot to be desired.
Rendal Rimua should first understand that he is a civil servant, which means that while he is answerable to the department head, the minister and the prime minister, ultimately, his responsibility is to uphold public interest.
The National, as a newspaper, also has its own role: to disseminate information, to educate, to promote debate, etc.
One of the most important ones is to expose wrong-doing, regardless of the individual or organisation involved.
We all know that corruption is rampant throughout the country and at all levels.
Politicians and their cronies have been dipping their filthy hands into public funds for so long that they are getting more blatant.
It is fine for Mr Rimua to be upset over the report which alleged that K160 million allocated to help settle outstanding commitments for Hides, Moran, Kutubu, Gobe and Kikori projects had been released without proper authorisation.
It is fine for Mr Rimua to be upset that the report named him as one of the signatories to a fund in which much of the money is alleged to have been deposited to.
But rather than call a press conference and then throw a tantrum like a child who has been denied a lolly, he should have acted responsibly like a good department secretary and dealt with the issues raised.
One would have expected him to be outraged that such a thing could have happened and demanded that action be taken, that he would have volunteered his assistance to any investigation.
Instead, his response has only served to add more suspicions as to where the millions of kina have gone to.
He refused to confirm the report, yet he also refused to deny it. What is that supposed to mean?
Was he trying to play it safe, so as not to be caught out when the truth finally emerges?
I am confident that the truth will finally prevail.
And when that happens, if it is indeed proven that some of our “trusted” officials have been siphoning off millions of kina, I hope they will get all the punishment they deserve.
If I were the judge, I would lock them on a barren island and throw away the keys.
To Mr Rimua, I say this: you are a public servant, paid by the Government using public funds.
If you do not like answering to the public, please kindly resign.