The B-17E 41-2446 (Swamp Ghost) recovery has again made PNG newspapers... This thread will be for PNG newspaper posts only - Hence being locked.
This from today's NATIONAL:
More from today's NATIONAL:PAC nails museum
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE National Museum and Art Gallery did not keep records of more than 30 war relics sold. Yesterday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ordered that the museum furnished it with these records and other documents within 48 hours.
The inquiry also learnt that the sales were in direct breach of the Public Finance Management Act and financial instructions.
At the centre of yesterday?s inquiry was the Swamp Ghost, which received widespread publicity two months ago when it was salvaged from Oro and taken to Lae in Morobe province for shipment to the United States.
Acting museum director Simon Poraituk was yesterday lost and confused when told of the relevant laws preventing the sale of war relics in the absence of any ministerial or cabinet approval.
Mr Poraituk said he only knew of the National Museum Board of Trustees, representing the State, and a memorandum of agreement to enter into a sale agreement with a client.
He had nothing to say about breaching the Public Finance Management Act, or that no proper tender procedures were followed in entering into any sale arrangements.
Acting PAC chairman Chris Haiveta said under the War Surplus Materials Act, all war surpluses are State property and lawful procedures must be followed when dealing with them. The National Museum and Art Gallery had failed that responsibility, he said.
In the 48-hour deadline, the PAC ordered the museum to produce:
*Statement of reasons for the sale of war relics;
*Statement to identify the basis for the issuance of an export permit;
*Schedule for the export permit;
*A full record of the sale of more than 30 war relics and financial records of the sales; and
*Meet with the Auditor-General to provide all financial records.
On the Swamp Ghost deal, Mr Poraituk said US$100,000 (K298,075) had been deposited by US buyers Aero Archeology into a holding account at the Westpac Bank in Port Moresby.
He said under a memorandum of agreement, 50% of that amount will go to the museum, 25% to the landowners and 25% to the Oro provincial government.
The agent acting for Aero Archeology Robert Grienert, a collector of war relics with a museum in Sydney, Australia, was also summoned before the inquiry yesterday.
Grienert said he was first hired by the museum to value the Swamp Ghost.
He found that the plane had suffered heavy corrosion and ?you can peel skins of the aircraft?, leaving it with a value of about K12,000.
He said the company spent K20,000 on motor hire and local labour during the salvage operation.
Again from today's NATIONAL:Inadequate documents anger acting PAC boss
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has raised concerns about foreigners having access to buy and remove State property without proper checks and procedures.
Yesterday?s inquiry into the Swamp Ghost found that the sale of more than 30 war relics had left PNG without following proper procedures and laws.
PAC acting chairman Chris Haiveta was apparently angry that the documents and evidence provided to the committee did not adequately address the issues at hand.
He was also unhappy that the museum had not cooperated with the Auditor-General to account for its activities from 2003 up until last year.
?How can the museum sell State-owned property of great value and, moreover, with no regard to the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act and the financial instructions??
He said eight years ago, the Solicitor-General had correctly pointed out that the State is the owner of war surplus material, and is the sole beneficiary of any sale. Therefore its disposal, by sale or otherwise, must be in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act, Mr Haiveta said. ?It means that the Swamp Ghost should have gone on tender ? if a decision was ever lawfully made to sell it in the first place.?
He said the only exception would be when the Central Supply and Tenders Board think it impractical or inexpedient, or if the minister in his discretion considers otherwise.
?Furthermore, this committee cannot yet identify any power in the National Museum and Art Gallery to permit the export of the wreck of the Swamp Ghost.
?Moreover, we are concerned that foreign exporters have apparently had access to, bought and removed State property with no proper checks,? Mr Haiveta said.
He was also concerned that the museum had received money and payment in kind from foreigners with no regard for the laws of this country.
Buyer of Swamp Ghost has no hangar
AMERICAN war relic buyer Aero Archeology Limited neither owns a hangar nor a museum.
Aero Archeology had bought a World War II American bomber B-17E Flying Fortress, dubbed the Swamp Ghost, and moved it from Oro province to Lae for shipment to the United States.
Citing correspondence received from Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation (MARC) in Marshfield, California, on July 2, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Tony Aimo yesterday said the company had denied receiving any correspondence from the buyer of the Swamp Ghost to have the plane housed at its establishment.
Mr Aimo said the museum, instead, is currently raising funds to build a new hangar for its own bombers.
Mr Aimo said MARC had denied knowledge of the Swamp Ghost.
?Yet, the NEC and museum trustees have been told that the Swamp Ghost would be restored at that location,? Mr Aimo said.
National Museum and Art Gallery acting director Simon Poraituk told the inquiry that in his letter to the NEC, he had hinted to dispose the plane to avoid Government and stakeholders? intervention.
He said there was no legislation used to reach the agreement, effecting the sale of the Swamp Ghost.
Mr Poraituk said his submission to the National Executive Council, through the former Culture and Tourism Minister, was without the approval of the Central Agency Consultative Committee. He was advised to have it dealt with administratively, he said Acting chairman of the museum board of trustees Arthur Jawodimbari said the board only endorsed the decision of the former board to extract and sell the Swamp Ghost.