Works Minister challenged to provide evidence

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has called on Works Minister Michael Nali to provide evidence that suspended Works Northern Manager, Brian Alois, lied about inflated costs for some roads.

It was reported that Alois, senior engineer in the Momase Region, was suspended after making a presentation, at the invitation of the National Planning Minister, on the economics of building roads in PNG.

Participants at the National Planning Summit, including the Secretary for Works, heard Alois provide details of the spiraling costs of each kilometre of road construction.

Alois, who is also the President of the Institute of Engineers PNG, provided details of costs of roads in 1994, 2004 and more recently and stated in his presentation that it currently costs up to an average of K3 million per kilometre of road. 

“The Department of Works must present its data and justify the suspension of Mr. Alois’ accused falsehoods, otherwise the public can assume that this is a witch hunt by a Government department terrified of truth,” stated TIPNG Chairman, Lawrence Stephens.

“The Minister of Works called Mr Alois a liar on the floor of Parliament. Mr Alois, a senior public servant and civil engineer who has given his professional opinion, appears to have risked his career by presenting verifiable data in a public forum at the invitation of the government.

"Mr Alois' suspension over allegedly making false comments at the National Planning Summit in March 2018 is simply unacceptable.

“Speakers were invited by government to assist Papua New Guinea by bringing their experience and advice to a public planning meeting. For the government to then punish speakers for doing what they were requested to do is outrageous.

“If ministers or other public servants disagree with the facts and opinions, it is up to them to produce facts," said Stephens.  

Citizens expect public office holders to respect a basic principle that effective public service should be seen to be provided with integrity and impartiality. 

(Works Minister Michael Nali in parliament this week)

Press release