PNG Governor General's Secretary Suspended For Assisting Candidate

Vene, other staff, allegedly used office resources, vehicles to help campaign of election candidate

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 23, 2017) – A senior official at Government House has been suspended for allegedly using office facilities to assist the campaign of a general election candidate.

Other staff at Government House implicated in the alleged abuse of office are facing disciplinary action, according to Personnel Management Secretary John Kali.

He confirmed that Ezekiel Vene, the official secretary to the Governor-General Bob Dadae, was suspended for allegedly using office facilities and vehicles to support the candidate.

He said Dadae wanted Vene sacked and the position advertised.

The suspension comes just days after Kali  warned public servants in a circular not to get involved in the election campaigns or other political activities.

Kali told The National that Dadae had called him to complain about the Government House staff involved in the printing of documents for “the benefit of certain candidates” using office facilities.

“This is contrary to their terms and conditions of employment,” Kali said.

“Certain disciplinary action will now be taken against those particular people.”

He did not say how many officials were involved but said the most senior, Vene, had been suspended.

“We have another person to act in the position. But the Governor-General made it very clear that he wants me to advertise the job immediately and look for someone who has the financial management skills and has leadership and ethics to manage the office,” Kali said.

“We want to help him (Dadae) restructure that office and make it more independent, and uphold the integrity of the office of the Governor-General.” Vene had been acting in the position since former secretary Vuatha Tipo resigned to contest the general election.

Kali said he had warned public servants last week not to align themselves with any candidate or political party. “(I warned them) to make sure that they don’t use any Government facilities for the benefit of any particular candidate or political party,” Kali said.

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