30 Sep 2005

PNG minister questions trips of UPNG official during probe period

4:01 pm on 30 September 2005

Papua New Guinea's minister of Higher Education has described the University of PNG vice-chancellor Les Eastcott's recent business trips while having stood down from his position as unwise.

Professor Eastcott made trips to Suva and Poland in the capacity of vice-chancellor despite having stood aside to allow an investigating committee to make enquiries into the recent unrest at UPNG.

The Minister, Don Polye, has asked the Chancellor to explain why Professor Eastcott made the trips even though he had stepped aside.

Mr Polye says that given the sensitivity of the whole issue, and the timing of the investigation, the wisdom of Professor Eastcott's trips was questionable...

"The fear was that his travelling and all that in his capacity as vice-chancellor would have amounted to inflicting a situation that was already being addressed and I did not want other parties to become very sensitive about it. So that's why it would have been wiser for the vice-chancellor to be a bit more discrete and sensitive to the issues."

Don Poyle says he expects to table the report in cabinet within two weeks before any recommendations in it are carried out.