The Swamp Ghost

Swamp Ghost advice ignored
Post Courier [ July 5, 2006 ]

THE National Museum and Art Gallery blatantly disobeyed advice by the Solicitor-General to sell any war relic without tender. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found no relevant laws giving permission for the export of the “Swamp Ghost”. And also the Swamp Ghost was sold without public tender as advised by the Solicitor-General. The PAC, headed by acting chairman and Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta, heard the Solicitor-General in 1997 advised the sale or disposal of any “War Surplus Material” must be effected in accordance with Part VII of the Public Finances (Management) Act. Mr Haiveta said, “This means that the Swamp Ghost should have been put to public tender — if a decision was ever lawfully made to sell it in the first place. However, he told the inquiry the only exception to this requirement was the Central Suppliers & Tenders Board certified it was impractical or inexpedient, or if the Minister in his discretion considered there was an emergency or it was not expedient or proper to call for tenders. A very disappointed Mr Haiveta said in his closing remarks the evidence did not answer or adequately address the major matter of concern to the PAC. “That is, the issue of how the Museum can sell State owned property of great value at all and, moreover, with no regard to the requirements of the PFMA or the Financial instruction,” Mr Haiveta said. He said the committee was concerned the heritage of the country was being sold, given to or taken by foreigners with no regard to the law by them or by the Museum and its staff.

Museum not co-operative
Post Courier [ July 5, 2006 ]

The Auditor-General’s Office told the Public Accounts Committee it could not carry out any meaningful audit into the National Museum because of lack of co-operation by the Museum management. The AGO said the National Museum’s audit reports for 1998, 1999 and 2000 were completely qualified. National Museum draft statements from 2001 to 2003 were submitted in 2005 but audit could not be carried out due to the lack of co-operation by the Museum management. Acting PAC chairman and Governor for Gulf Chris Haiveta said this was a breach of the Finance Management Act. Mr Haiveta said the committee was concerned it had heard little or no evidence from the National Museum during the inquiry. He reminded the acting director of the National Museum Simon Poraituk and members of the board of trustees that everything of culture importance, including artefacts, things from colonial times, things that have been traded, belonged to Papua New Guineans. Mr Haiveta raised concerns the Museum was also receiving donations in kind that were not recorded.

          B-17E 41-2446 art by Jack Fellows via IHRP

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