Kua will not interfere with selection of secretary

The Minister for Petroleum, Kerenga Kua has on Wednesday called on the public to respect the process of the Public Service Commission (PSC) in selecting a permanent secretary for the Department of Petroleum.

Mr Kua made this remark in relation to slanderous comments in the media last week about public servants that have been allegedly shortlisted by the PSC.

Mr Kua said: “If we are to get things right as a people and a government, we need to stop our interference and allow government processes to begin and end as they should. Political interference in the past has eroded our systems and processes and I would like to see that this government avoids this trap.

“We as leaders need to work with public servants that are appointed as department heads. And the Public Service Commission must in turn work with the highest integrity and must select candidates that are of high standing and reputable.

“And if we believe that the process has been compromised in some way, then this is a matter that the aggrieved can raise separately either in court or take up with the Commission.

“This has been such an issue for me that in August this year, I issued an internal advice informing my department staff and all candidates that I will not be interfering with the process of selection and will work with whoever is selected by the National Executive Council from the shortlist that the Public Service Commission provides.

“I therefore would like to again make it clear that I will follow the public service process in the appointment of a permanent secretary for the Department of Petroleum. My term as Minister will draw to an end prior to the 2022 elections, and a new minister will be appointed thereafter.

“For the purpose of continuation and harmony, it is imperative that we respect the process and are not accused of political interference. Therefore, once the Public Service Commission advises me of the shortlist of candidates, I will make my selection of three and submit the list to Cabinet (NEC) to take that final decision.

“The Petroleum Department makes a large contribution to our country annually and it is therefore incumbent upon me to ensure that a culture is created of respect and professionalism so we can all work together as a team for the greater good of PNG,” said Mr Kua.

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