PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 8) –Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (NRI) director Dr Beno Boeha has been removed from office.

The National Research Institute Council, a government-funded research body, dismissed him on Friday on directives from the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday during hearings into the Institute’s financial operations.

NRI chairman Archbishop Sir Brian Barnes told the Post-Courier on Friday the Council reached the decision to terminate Dr Boeha’s employment because the Council had lost confidence in him as head of the institute. He said the decision was made in the best interests of the institute because the NRI was an important government body.

"Dr Richard Guy who is the head of education research has been appointed acting director for NRI by the Council and will carry out the directives that the Council has made in regard to the two other senior officers," he said.

Dr Boeha appeared before the Public Accounts Committee last week to explain queries relating to funds belonging to the institute invested by Dr Boeha in a fast money scheme. He was suspended from office with NRI senior finance officer Naum Kailou and senior research officer Matthew Nelson by the Council on Thursday for investing the money without seeking the Council’s approval.

The PAC found Mrs Kailou and Mr Nelson had "colluded to defraud the state and the National Research Institute for processing documentation for the remittance of K800,000’’.

Dr Boeha was alleged to have invested K800,000 in fast money schemes to raise more funds for the institute.

The inquiry found Dr Boeha had written to the Internal Revenue Commission on October 13, 2000 to have K300,000 remitted into a Japanese bank account and another K499,000 to be remitted by the IRC and the Central Bank — and deposited into a Swiss bank account on October 18, 2000.

The inquiry revealed that Dr Boeha had made the transaction using the address of his family business, Brancaly Limited. PAC chairman John Hickey told Dr Boeha and his two senior officers they had broken the Public Finance Management Act and action had to be taken against them.

Dr Boeha said yesterday; "My conscience is clear. I know what I did was for the good faith of the institute. The Government has never given any money to the institute for its programs and the money I raised for these programs are from my own sweat.’’ 

December 8, 2003

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