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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Kua says administrative Inquiry is pointless

Leader of the PNG National Party, and Member for Sinasina Yongomugl, Kerenga Kua is supporting Manumanu landowners in their call for nothing less than a Commission of Inquiry into acquisition by the Department of Defence of land at Manumanu in the Central Province.
The transaction, which resulted in a massive public outcry from landowners and the general public alike, has been called nothing more than a “land grab”, with Government Ministers and Departmental Heads implicated in the questionable transaction.
Kua said “Prime Minister Peter O’Neill gave every undertaking that the rights of landowners would be protected and their lands would be returned to them. Does he expect that for giving them back what was always theirs, their birthright, his Ministers and Departmental heads should escape a public probe?

"It is in the public interest that this transaction be probed, by an independent entity with the teeth to gather all relevant information and make informed findings.”
Kua said, “A Commission of Inquiry is set up to inquire into various issues. Commissions report findings, give advice and make recommendations. While their findings are not legally binding, they can be highly influential. Most importantly, they are independent of the government and led by distinguished individuals, experts or judges. They have the power to subpoena witnesses, take evidence under oath and request documents. Findings and recommendations are not binding. However they can have a significant impact on public opinion and shape public policy.”
Mr Kua said, “The PNC led O’Neill Government is failing in its responsibility to the people of this country. A government appoints a Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of scandal and misconduct, which affect public confidence in the government itself and the public administration for which it is responsible.

"The government appointing the inquiry should be itself obliged to acquiesce to the demands for information and documentation made by the Commissioner and his or her lawyers. This is a form of independent and public scrutiny. Senior officials and politicians at every level can be subpoenaed by a public inquiry to testify, and to produce for public examination their personal records such as their work schedules and their bank statements, for example.”
Kua stressed that in a Commission of Inquiry, the powerful people involved in the Manumanu land scandal would be obliged to answer questions about their actions and involvement whether they want to or not.
He said “They are expected to explain their actions, and to account for the manner in which they had discharged their public responsibilities, to an independent body carrying out its investigation in public, in the full glare of media coverage.”
Mr Kua said “The secretiveness that characterizes the O’Neill government is no longer appropriate or acceptable - greater transparency is necessary.”
Mr Kua said “An administrative inquiry is an investigation that is not for the purpose of law enforcement or criminal prosecution.
Administrative inquiries are usually conducted for matters such as:
accidents or mishaps; allegations of sexual harassment; and, incidents of misconduct which may lead to disciplinary action.
"The purpose of an administrative inquiry is to gather facts and relevant evidence to provide the basis for determining what, if any, action should be taken. As it is, now the Government will investigate the Government? This is a farce!”
Mr Kua suggests there are far more sinister politics at play, and the Prime Minister by downgrading the landowners proposed Commission of Inquiry to an administrative inquiry, is attempting to win over public sentiment and at the same time, save the necks of his Ministers. An administrative inquiry will only identify the wrongdoers using information that is supplied on a voluntary basis.
Mr Kua said, “We can only assume that the O’Neill Government wishes to control the outcome, and so offers this process of internal investigation.”
Mr Kua said “ I challenge the O’Neill Government to do the right thing by the people of this country and send out a strong message that the displacement of customary landowners from their traditional lands without proper process, even when it originates in the corridors of power, will not be tolerated. This is an issue of significant public importance that requires a Commission of Inquiry.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 2:59 AM. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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