The National – Thursday, December 23, 2010
By SAMUEL RAITANO
THE National Museum and Arts Gallery (NMAG) has been operating on an ad hoc basis without a director since September last year, according to an insider.
Reliable sources and staff from NMAG confirmed the truth in the contents of the press statement when interviewed yesterday by The National, but declined to comment further, in fear of repercussions for their comments.
The press release alleged that the museum board had been handling the appointment process of the director in a manner that confused and derailed the function of the country’s premier cultural institution.
According to a source, who requested anonymity, there was an urgent need for a new director to take on the reigns next year as the vacant position had created situations for corrupt practices to take place within the corridors of the museum.
It was alleged that the position of the director had been pronounced vacant last year, in which the museum board had ignored due processes to effect an appointment, resulting in the vacancy remaining.
In June this year, the National Executive Council was ill-informed and appointed Dr Andrew Moutu as acting director. Moutu’s appointment was later disputed by the court after serving the office for only three months.
This came about as a result of an interim injunctive court order that was successfully obtained by the former director Simon Poraituk, whose term expired last year.
The injunctive order restrained the board and other parties from making appointments to the acting director’s post until such a time when determined by the court.
Despite the court order, the museum board appointed a junior female officer as the acting director in October this year.
Taking advantage of the situation, it was alleged and that certain staff (named) have been involved in corrupt practices specifically in misappropriation of funds belonging the museum.
The National tried to speak to the board pesident but was informed that the museum was closed for the year since last Friday and the board members were unavailable.