JOHN Kali the head of PNG’s Department of Personnel Management has asked the PNG Post-Courier to retract what he terms “inaccurate and defamatory reporting” by an unnamed reporter.
Mr Kali said that two articles published in the newspaper concerned the appointment of an acting provincial administrator of Western Province.
The articles, on 18 and 20 January, were headlined ‘Corruption rates high in public offices’ and ‘Awaiting acting provincial administrator’.
According to Mr Kali, the first made “very serious allegations of fraudulent misconduct by officers of the Department of Personnel Management” while the second presented “a completely distorted and inaccurate picture of the appointment of the acting provincial administrator”.
“Your staff did not have the courtesy to contact my office in view of such important allegations against my office and alleged actions of the Fraud Squad against lawfully appointed officers of the State,” Mr Kali wrote to the editor.
In a rebuttal, Mr Kali wrote that “the Post-Courier article maligns and defames officers of the Department of Personnel Management without providing any opportunity to the head of the department or the senior officers to relate the true facts to the public.
“The acting provincial administrator Mr Gui Gorgom was properly appointed through the lawful processes under the Public Services (Management) Act and the Regulations.
“The first article alleges that acting provincial administrator had been arrested and charged by the Fraud Squad. But no arrest took place and Mr Gui Gorgom is still in office. He is a fit and proper person endorsed by the Provincial Executive Council to occupy the office of provincial administrator.
“The alternative candidate Dr Modowa Gumoi, preferred by the Governor of Western Province, is not a fit and proper person to occupy the office. The court in Daru had dismissed his candidacy for office following his arrest and charge for fraud and misappropriation,” the rebuttal continued.
“Contrary to the Post-Courier articles, the Head of the Department of Personnel Management and his officers have worked hard to apprehend and to stop any further corruption, fraud and financial misconduct in Western Province.
“The independent reports from the Auditor General and the proper legal interpretation of the Public Services (Management) Act and the Regulations prove this to be true.”
The rebuttal concluded that the actions of the Department of Personnel Management will vigorously defend its actions in court.