PNGTA strife

By CYRIL GARE

A UNION bigwig who was previously arrested and charged by police for a sex offense in May, this year, has been arrested again this week and charged with an alleged K290,000 fraud.

The K290,000 allegedly belongs to the PNGTA which has 21,000 teachers in the country as members.

Police confirmed that suspended PNG Teachers Association General Secretary, Ugwalubu Mowana was arrested on Thursday night to face charges relating to contracts awarded to a company known as T.A Limited whose directors are Tommy Hecko (PNGTA president) and a Yawali Mowana.

He was released on a on a K1000 bail and will appear in court sometimes next week, police said.

Both Hecko and Mowana were suspended in May by Industrial Registrar Helen Saleu.

By law, Ms Saleu has since assumed the role of administrator of the functions and administration of PNGTA or any union or industrial organisation and also appointed a caretaker administration headed by Hendrick Yagro as Acting General Secretary of PNGTA, and members comprising Joan Kalama, Synol Kou, Mary Anne Apini and Moses Modekewau.

Following the news of Mr Ugwalubu’s arrest, financial members of the PNGTA in National Capital District protested and placed a huge banner at the gates of the PNGTA Waigani office on Friday which reads “Papua New Guinea Teachers Association is us. Ugwalubu Mowana and Tommy Hecko out. Investigations on!!”

Journalists from TV Wan, Post Courier and Sunday Chronicle were there and received copies of a six-page petition signed by 50 PNGTA financial members.

There the teachers called on the Industrial Registrar to speed up the investigations into the affairs of PNGTA which they described as “serious and must be fully investigated”.

They extended this call to the government “to intervene and possibly elevate the level of this investigation into a commission of inquiry” to investigate:

  • Purchasing of PNGTA institutional houses to Ugwalubu Mowana and Tommy Hecko in Waigani and Gerehu;
  • Registering a private security company; and
  • Deposing K20,000 every fortnight into developing of Kenabot “private” property through Pavex Construction company.

In May Mr Mowana was slapped with a triple blow including sexual assault charges by police Sexual Offence Squad (SOS), served summons to appear in court for his part in operating a “renegade” faction of the PNG Trade Union Congress (PNGTUC) and also served with a letter of suspension from the industrial registrar.

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