By GYNNIE KERO
THE top two officials of the University of PNG have been sidelined by the Government to “restore the reputation” of the institution.
Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Pila Niningi said acting Chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann, and acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Vincent Malaibe, had been sidelined effective from today.
“Neither individual has the authority therefore to act, in any away whatsoever, on the university’s behalf,” he said.
“All those with an interest in this matter are asked to take note of the above information and act accordingly.”
He also revoked the membership of the University Council “and therefore the powers and the authority of the acting Chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann”.
In a paid advertisement today, Niningi said an interim council of the university would be appointed to:
- Put on hold the planned increase in compulsory fees;
- appoint a new acting vice-chancellor; and,
- “Identify allegations of fraud or corruption” at the university.
“I have taken the serious step of lawfully revoking the membership of the governing body of the UPNG due to (its) failure to address financial mismanagement, and alleged fraud and corruption at the university,” he said.
“I take this action after repeated efforts to raise these matters with the UPNG Council and the acting vice-chancellor have been unsuccessful. Section 152 of the Higher Education (General Provisions) Act 2014 requires me to take appropriate actions or measures that are necessary to promote the interests of the university.”
He said there were “credible and confirmed instances of financial mismanagement, and allegations of fraud and corrupt conduct at UPNG that have yet to be investigated, have been brought to my attention”.
“These instances have also been brought to the attention of the (university council) which has failed to take decisive action to address them,” he said.
“There is evidence that the UPNG management is obstructing lawful internal and external investigations.
“If we are serious about restoring the reputation of the UPNG as a premier tertiary education institution, we need to make sure that efforts to weed out entrenched mismanagement, misconduct and any illegal activities are vigorously pursued.”