The National, Wednesday 10th April, 2013
By JUNIOR UKAHA
THE degree and diplomas to be conferred on University of Technology graduands on Friday is questionable, the university’s former council chairman Philip Stagg said yesterday.
Stagg said in a statement the qualifications conferred on the graduands might in time be worthless if it was found to have been conferred by an illegal council and the papers co-signed by an illegal acting vice-chancellor and illegal acting registrar.
He signed off as the legal chairman of the council but Unitech management said in its own statement yesterday that Stagg’s term expired and that a full council had appointed Sir Nagora Bogan as its chairman.
Stagg is technically the chairman of Unitech council after the court refused to add the names of current interim chairman Sir Nagora Bogan and others in his group to the existing council’s list following an application.
Stagg and his council members were stood down by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill early this year following a protest by students.
O’Neill also appointed Sir Nagora to head an interim council and Prof John Pumwa as the acting vice-chancellor.
The prime minister then appointed a government team headed by retired judge Mark Sevua to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement within the university.
“The graduands should question the value of the degrees and not be given qualifications that are questionable,” Stagg said.
Unitech responded saying Stagg’s term ended on March 25 and was not renewed.
It said Stagg was informed of the cessation of his employment with the university.
“Stagg is illegally using the official letter head of the PNG University of Technology, as he is not the chancellor. He should stop using the university’s letterhead and stop making misleading statements,” the university management said.
It said the full council at its 164th meeting held two days after the expiration of Stagg’s contract confirmed and endorsed Sir Nagora as chancellor.
According to the Unitech management, there have been precedents in the past where persons acting in the positions of registrar and vice-chancellor have signed certificates.
“The certificates are conferred by the academic board of the university upon recommendation from the 13 academic departments that the graduands have fulfilled all academic requirements.”
The management said the chancellor was only a ceremonial head to give the certificates and the graduation was a public ceremony to endorse the academic board’s decision.
“The university is carrying on with normal business. Preparations for the 45th graduation ceremony are underway.
“The graduands have already started arriving on campus to pay and collect gowns,” the management said.