Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Papua New Guinea climate change boss suspended

From The National, Papua New Guinea’s leading daily newspaper


THE head of Office of Climate Change and Environment Sustainability (OCCES), Dr Theo Yasause, has been suspended.

Government sources said Cabinet made the decision to suspend Dr Yasause from office pending a full-scale investigation into operations of the office.

Cabinet made the decision last Friday based on a submission by Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill is away in Abu Dhabi, representing the Government on official business, and could not be reached for comments.

But Government sources spoken to said the decision was made by Cabinet, and a formal announcement was pending.

It is understood the secretary for the Department of Environment and Conservation, Dr Wari Iamo, will be the acting director-general of the OCCES.

Acting secretary for the Department of Personnel Management John Kali will head an inter-government agency team to conduct the full-scale investigation that will look into all aspects of this office and its operations since it was established.

Recently, the media revealed allegations that the OCCES had been selling carbon trading projects to a number of overseas companies without having any policy or legislative framework in place to do so.

Since then, there have been calls for Dr Yasause to step down for an inquiry into all these allegations.

Even Kevin Conrad, the PNG Ambassador of Climate Change based in New York, USA, had expressed concern about the way the office was conducting itself regarding carbon trade.

In a recent conference of governors, it was resolved the OCCES and its head be referred to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee for an investigation into its affairs. This referral is pending.

Meanwhile, AusAID will have an adviser attached to the OCCES for three months.

The corporate planning adviser will be based in Port Moresby, and will be responsible for helping the OCCES establish corporate governance systems to enable it to demonstrate transparency and accountability in its operations.

This would involve providing technical advice on financial and accounting systems, IT and communications and HR processes, including staff recruitment, sources said


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