Kantha refutes Minister’s claims

Former Chief Migration Officer, Solomon Kantha, has refuted the recent statement by the Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Westly Nukundj.

In a statement issued on December 12, Kantha said the allegations of him walking out with three suitcases filled with sensitive files was a blatant lie by the Minister to tarnish his reputation.

Kantha said he is considering filing defamatory proceedings in Court against the Minister for issuing a baseless and fabricated media statement on the reasons for revocation of his appointment. 

Responding to the allegation of taking sensitive files, the former CMO said he went to his office over the weekend at around 8am to pick spare clothes, normally for duty travel, in his office change room.

He said CCTV footage, shown and witnessed by senior staff, showed him with only one suitcase and not three suitcases of files as claimed by the Minister. 

Kantha also said the decision on the engagement of Tasion Group was based on the direction of the Prime Minister to terminate arrangements with Paladin.

“Tasion Group was able to satisfy the requirements as they are a local Manus company, based in Manus and have provided a business model that involved all Manus landowners and local companies,” he stated.

Kantha added the Australian Department of Home Affairs wrote to him that they will not fund any new arrangements if the agreement with Tasion Group is terminated and the PNG Government will have to commit funds to engage a new contractor.

He said this will affect plans for protection of assets at the East Lorengau Transit Centre and have the Centre open to looting and damage, which will not be in any state to be repurposed into an educational facility which the government wants.

“Everyone in Manus will be affected as they will miss out on this opportunity.”

Kantha said the process of the revocation of his appointment was against the decision of the Immigration and Citizenship Authority Board and the advice of the Public Service Commission.

“Suddenly on the eve of my second year of my four year term, the State Solicitor writes to Department of Personnel Management about the process of my appointment.”

Kantha said the manner in which he was removed was prejudicial and very unfair to him as a public servant who has committed so much to change this government agency. 

The former CMO has stated that he will seek redress in court.

Cedric Patjole