Statement — Deliberations of the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee

Establishment of Boards of Inquiry to Investigate Allegations of Against Secretaries for Technical Services and Peace Agreement Implementation

At its meeting on 19 September 2018, the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee resolved to establish two separate Boards of Inquiry to investigate allegations of misconduct made against the Secretary for Technical Services, Mr Bernard Tzilu and the Secretary for Peace Agreement Implementation, Mr James Tanis. The allegations are contained in petitions dated 8 August 2018 and 16 August 2018 delivered to the Committee by Chief Secretary, Joseph Nobetau.

The Committee has identified Chief lla Geno as a person of significant integrity and qualification to conduct the Inquiry.Mr Geno is expected to commence work immediately.

The Senior Appointments Committee requests all concerned to support the investigation, to enable these matters to be resolved swiftly and fairly. The two Secretaries will be afforded full natural justice, and everyone is encouraged to extend to them the presumption of innocence to which they are entitled.

I note that both individuals are of high standing in the Bougainville Community. As a former President and peace builder Secretary Tanis has, in particular contributed vastly to the peace building process. Whilst I commend this work I am bound by the law, and as such must ensure that the Board of Inquiry process is concluded to completion. I would encourage supporters of Mr Tanis and Mr Tzilu to respect this lawful process.

At the conclusion of each investigation, the Board of Inquiry will report its findings and recommendations back to the Senior Appointments Committee. The Committee will then decide what action (if any) is to be taken.

Dismissal of the Secretary for Community Government from Office

On 19 September 2018, Chief lla Geno handed down his findings in relation to allegations of misconduct against the Secretary for Community Government, Mr Wesley Kenneth. The Board of Inquiry found all allegations to be proven and recommended dismissal from office in accordance with Section 37 (1 )(a) of the Bougainville Senior Appointments Act 2014.

The findings of the Board of Inquiry found that Mr Kenneth engaged in misconduct through the administration of the Disaster Management account, making unlawful and corrupt payments leading to an economic loss to the ABG. The Inquiry also found that Mr Kenneth failed to seek approval for travel, misused and failed to account for government funds and defied lawful directions.

I am deeply disappointed that Mr Kenneth failed to adhere to the expected standards of integrity and conduct of all Secretaries within the ABC. On that basis, the Committee had no choice but to terminate his employment.

Recruitment for a new Secretary for Community Government will commenced shortly

 

Honourable Chief Dr John L Momis GCL MHR

President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville

and Chair, Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee

 

 

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