Claims against Sir Julius tabled

Allegations referring Governor Sir Julius Chan to the Ombudsman Commission and fraud squad were tabled to the Inter-Government Relations Minister, Pila Niningi.

Chairmen of the Kavieng and Namatanai district development authorities, Ian Ling-Stuckey and Walter Schnaubelt, handed over the document recently.

Five presidents of Namatanai district and over 75 ward members from New Ireland Province have reported several breaches of the Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local-level Government, including accusations of ‘illegal’ provincial assembly meetings.

Member for Kavieng, Ling-Stuckey, pointed to section 15, subsection 3, which stated: “The number of meetings of a Provincial Assembly shall be not less than four in each calendar year and shall not be held at the same time as the meetings of the National Parliament.”

Ling-Stuckey claimed the New Ireland Governor held provincial assembly meetings when parliament was in session.

“Despite pleading with him, Chan knowingly proceeded with holding over three illegal meetings in clear breach of the law,” stated Ling-Stuckey.

Namatanai MP, Schnaubelt, said Governor Sir Julius then declared that they did not attend three consecutive meetings whilst they were attending Parliament.

The New Ireland Assembly then voted them out during its meeting on Wednesday the 17th of March.

“To say he’s unbothered by these very serious allegations of misconduct in public office sends a very wrong signal to ordinary New Irelanders that anyone can just break the law,” added Schnaubelt.

Both leaders formally requested the minister and provincial affairs department to reinstate them immediately to the provincial assembly until a comprehensive, independent investigation is satisfactorily completed.

Allegations against Sir Julius include:

  • Holding assembly meetings at the same time as a sitting of the National Parliament, in breach of s15(3) of Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local-level Government.
  • Illegally appointing People's Progress Party liaison officers, who are unelected representatives, as members of the provincial executive council, bypassing at least eight elected presidents in the province. This is in breach of Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local-level Government s23(2)(b): “The Provincial Executive Council shall consist of- the Chairman of each of the permanent committees of the Provincial Executive Council appointed by the Governor.”
  • Failure to establish a provincial plan in the last 14 years, since 2007, breaching s5(2) of the PNG Planning and Monitoring Act of 2016, which requires provincial government to complete and furnish 5-year rolling plans to the Department of Planning.

(Minister for Inter-Government Relations, Pila Niningi, left, with Kavieng MP and Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey, centre, and Namatanai MP and Forest Minister, Walter Schnaubelt, during their meeting at Waigani on May 6th)

Press release