Museum comes under spotlight
The National [ February 21, 2007 ]
THE National Museum was again brought under the spotlight in Parliament yesterday with more allegations of theft of thousands of kina worth of equipment, illegal payments and bribery.
Anglimp South Wahgi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham, in his questions to Culture and Tourism Minister Nick Kuman asked whether the Minister was aware that the current director had issued two export permits to an Australian war relic dealer and a US dealer without the approval of the Board.
He also asked whether the Minister was aware that the director and a senior officer visited the United States secretly with all expenses paid by the dealer.
“Are you aware that the National Museum finance office had been closed for the last three years and the funds totalling K3 million a year is being managed at the home of the director?
Mr Maxtone-Graham said thousands of kina worth of cheques were being written out to individuals for bank counter without any records that was worth K180,000.
He said the Government allocated K2.5 million to repair the aging air conditioning system and K350,000 of that money was missing.
He asked whether there was a proper tender process followed in engaging a firm for K380,000 to clean the air conditioning system.
“Are you aware that K20,000 was paid to a senior Minister to solicit his support in the appointment of the director’s position?
“Are you aware that the director was paid travelling allowances of K20,000 for a week official visit to Goroka last year?”
Mr Maxtone-Graham said a boat donated by New Zealand and very expensive audio visual equipment donated by Japan had been stolen by staff.
“Are you aware that the director received various equipment including digital camera, laptop computer and various other expensive equipment bought by research funds have been stolen by staff?
“Are you aware that a vehicle bought for K35,000 from PNG Motors last December has not been delivered?
“Are you aware that K179,000 was paid to a private company to develop a tomb and paid all other expenses of the company?”
Mr Maxtone-Graham said a security firm was paid K110,000 to provide security.
He also said the French ambassador was on an official visit to the National Museum with his wife but there was nobody to meet the ambassador resulting in them being attacked by rascals nearly claiming his life.
Mr Kuman Kuman said he was aware of the allegations but would make a detailed response at a later date.