In this issue of Bougainville News we have a summary of news that happened over the Xmas/ News Years break
1.Unite under one banner says President Momis as the referendum window opens in 2015
2.Bougainville welcomes new Chief Secretary Monovi Amani
3.Protests on the appointment with four demands
4.ABG Budget 2015 summary
5. Outgoing Chief Secretary Siriosi asks Bougainvillean’s to respect
6.New amendments to Bougainville election act
1.UNITE UNDER ONE BANNER SAYS MOMIS
By Aloysius Laukai
The ABG PRESIDENT CHIEF DR. JOHN MOMIS has called for unity as Bougainville moves into the Referendum window in 2015.He made these remarks when commenting on the ABG 2015 Budget . PRESIDENT MOMIS said that Bougainville although has more factions then before have one common goal that is self determination for Bougainville.
DR. MOMIS said that Bougainville must address two important issues before the referendum.They are a massive awareness on the Peace Agreement and the activities of the government and the removal of all weapons before the referendum.
He said that because a lot of people invested funds on buying weapons the ABG will look at a program of buying back these weapons for some small amount of funds to be agreed at.
President Momis said that Bougainville must be united as the famous saying that United we stand or divided we fall which will be not in the best interest of Bougainville.
2.BOUGAINVILLE WELCOMES NEW CHIEF SECRETARY
By Aloysius Laukai
The Bougainville Public Employees Association(PEA) has welcomed the announcement by the President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and chairman of the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee, Chief DR. JOHN MOMIS on the appointment of the new Head of the Bougainville Public Service, Chief Secretary MONOVI AMANI. President of the PEA, PATRICK HEROMATE whilst responding to the appointment said that the PEA trusts the appointment of the Bougainville chief secretary is in line with the new process of appointments by the BSAC.
The intended aim of the procedure of appointments by the BSAC is to give effect to transparency in the appointments.
Whether or not this has been achieved is yet to be realized and as far as PEA is concerned, we want to ensure that no stones are left unturned.
“We want to see that all due diligence checks have been made into questions of wether or not any of the candidates have pending investigations by relevant authorities have been declared by the shortlisted candidates and appointed officer” said MR. HEROMATE.
As far as PEA is concerned, there are rumours of pending investigations by the Ombudsman Commission on the appointed officer.
In order to give effect to transparency in the appointment process and also to gain confidence of the people of Bougainville, this rumour has to be dispelled.
We congratulate the new head of the Bougainville Public Service Chief Secretary, MONOVI AMANI and wish him best in his new role.
PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES NEW CHIEF SECRETARY
By Aloysius Laukai
The ABG President and Chairman of the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee, CHIEF DR.JOHN MOMIS has announced the new Chief Secretary for Bougainville as MONOVI AMANI 52 years from Mortlock Island. In making the announcement, President MOMIS said that this was done after an extensive recruitment and selection process that the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee had to go through to come with the final selection.
Mr MONOVI AMANI has been notified to take up the position of Chief Secretary and Head of the Bougainville Public Service.
He is currently the Provincial Administrator for New Ireland Province a position he has held for the last two years.
Prior to that he was CEO Planning and Finance in that Administration.
The new Chief Secretary has previously been a business and taxation consultant, a
lecturer in finance and accounting, a senior officer in the National Housing
Corporation and a tax assessor with IRC.
Mr Monovi Amani has degrees in Commerce, Accounting and Business Administration. He also has certificates and diplomas in financial management and tertiary teaching.
Since 1992 Mr Amani has been a member of the Australian Society for Chartered Practising
3.PROTESTORS HAPPY WITH EXPLANATION
FORMER BRA General, ISHMAEL TOROAMA has put in four demands to the ABG President Chief, DR. JOHN MOMIS following the appointment of MONOVI AMANI as the new Chief Secretary for BOUGAINVILLE. In a letter addressed to the President and copied to NEW DAWN FM, MR TOROAMA said that the Bougainville Veterans are not happy with the appointment made by the Senior Appointments Committee.
MR. TOROAMA said that the appointment of MR. MONOVI AMANI is not the only insensitive decision that the ABG under DR. MOMIS has made causing instability to the fragile Bougainville Peace Process.
He said that the appointment is a slap in the face for the people of West Coast, Bougainville and Bougainville as a whole.
MR. TOROAMA said that this decision only indicates that the current Government has no confidence in hardworking Bougainvilleans on Bougainville who have continued to build Bougainville in very tough times.
The for demands are, WHY the acting Chief Secretary was not confirmed to the position to continue the remarkable work that he has started.
TWO, That the Ex Combatants want to know why the ABG President and several Minister have personal shares in the POGE Limited based in the Philipinnes.
THREE, That the President declare the relationship of the President with the failed TOROKINA OIL PALM Project.
AND Four, that the President outline the benefit sharing arrangement between HAKAU and ABG on the MV CHEBU Project.
Apart from these four, the former BRA GENERAL also condemned the recent comments made by the ABG President on the South Bougainville Commander, THOMAS TARI at the launch of the Australia/New Zealand funded Radio Station in Buin.
By Aloysius Laukai
More then one hundred people especially ex combatants fronted the ABG House this afternoon to protest on the appointment of the new Chief Secretary, MONOVI AMANI by the ABG Senior Appointments Committee.
The former combatants presented a petition to the ABG President, DR. CHIEF DR. JOHN MOMIS who promised to look into their grievances addressed in their petition.
PRESIDENT MOMIS told the protestors that the appointment was made by an Independent Committee as per the Bougainville Constitution.
He said that the Bougainville Costitution says that the Appointments must be made by a Idependent Committee that includes a representative of the Churches and in this case the Bishop of United Church TIM AUTHER, Women’s rep, MRS HONA HOLAN,LAWYERS REP, HUBERT KIKIRA, JOHN KALI from the Department of Personal Management and President Momis as the Chairman.
Chief Momis said that if we continue to disturb the process that we have established then there is no use of setting up the mechnicism to move Bougainville forward.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Police, ACP PAUL KAMUAI this afternoon thanked the former combatants for presenting their petition quitely and receiving their answer from their leaders.
He said this was a sign that our people were matured and can present their grievance peacefully.
4.ABG Budget 2015
The ABG 2015 Budget session today saw the ABG finance and treasury minister Albert Punghau gave the members a rundown of the 2015 budget summary.
Before giving a rundown of the budget summary, the minister stressed to the ABG president chief Dr. John Momis and the members of the House of Representatives that the 2015 budget priorities as tabled in the house in September will be to improve service delivery through a strong focus at the district level, promote economic growth and sustainability, significantly increase revenue volumes and collection of revenues and to strengthen key interventions and functions of the government.
He added that the budget also seeks to increase transparency of all sources of funding available in Bougainville from all sources.
He then urged that the members of the House of Representatives to work together to get the best value out of every kina available to Bougainville.
Mr. Punghau then revealed that in summary, the total Recurrent Unconditional Grant stands at K127, 977, 000, the estimated sub-total of internal revenue stands at K19, 119, 000, while the restoration and development grants is estimated to be K160 million.He also revealed that the K30 million RDG arrears has already been allocated to 17 programmes whilst the 2015 RDG payment of K15 million was allocated to a total of 10 region wide projects.
The minister said for the first time, a budget document records development partner contribution and those of our national member representatives.
He added that in total, the sum of K249, 015, 400 is appropriated from the Bougainville consulted revenue fund for expenditure in respect of the general public services for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2015.
Members not happy with budget
By Aloysius Laukai
ABG members who spoke in the ABG Budget tabled today by the ABG Finance Minister, ALBERT PUNGHAU said that the budget did not reflect the wishes of the people as per the ABG Budget meeting held in Arawa recently.
The member for TSITALATO, COSMAS SOHIA told the house that the meeting in Arawa was just another waste of Government funds as their input were not reflected in the 2015 ABG Budget.
Other members who also spoke was the member for SOUTH NASIOI who questioned why his new AROPA HIGH SCHOOL was not in the Budget.
He said that AROPA which is under his constituency was able to get funds under the National Government’s HIGH IMPACT PROJECT and this AROPA HIGH SCHOOL must have been included as part of the ABG’s input to the development in the area.
The member for HAGOGOHE, PETER SOHIA was not happy as the Budget was pushed without providing the Minister’s Speech to all members.
The budget bill was read two times and the leaders will be given tonight to go through the budget before they can debate further tomorrow before passing the bill.
New Dawn FM understands that the law says that the ABG must pass the ABG Budget before the 31st of December and delay in passing the bill will mean not funds to do government work in the new year.
5.SIRIOSI ADDRESSES BOUGAINVILLEANS
BY JENNIFER NKUI
The Outgoing chief secretary for ABG Chris Siriosi is asking the people of Bougainville to respect the decision of the senior appointments committee on the appointment of the chief secretary to the Bougainville Government and head of the Bougainville public service.
He said in a statement today that as a proud Bougainvillean and a loyal public servant, he has sworn an oath to well and truly serve the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and he intends to remain strongly faithful to that oath by respecting the lawful process by the Bougainville senior appointments committee in selecting a well qualified Bougainvillean, Monovi Amani for this important position.
He stressed that no one should be under the misapprehension as he supports our president, the BEC and the senior appointments committee as they work to establish a credible professional Bougainville Public Service under our laws.
He added that recruiting and selecting on the basis of merit a permanent chief secretary and the permanent 13 departmental heads was never going to be an easy task for anyone involved as change is never easy to manage and is even more difficult in a situation such as that faced by Bougainville.
Mr. Siriosi said however, how the public servants in the public service, the ministers and the people handle this process and its outcomes will make a strong statement about Bougainville’s maturity.
The former acting chief secretary believes that the only path to fulfilling the spirit of our constitution and the Bougainville Peace Agreement is to follow the rule of law and our Christian faith in all things.
While he appreciates the strong show of personal support from those who are concerned about him not being selected for the position, Mr. Siriosi said we need to open our doors to those from outside of Bougainville who want to come here to work, especially well qualified Bougainvilleans.
He revealed that he wants to work for the government in any position that best suits his skills and talents as he is not afraid to roll up his sleeves or working long hours for Bougainville.
He said he has enjoyed his time as the acting chief secretary and he is proud of his achievements of the last year or so saying he will accept an invitation from the president and the BEC in an appropriate position.
In the meantime, Mr. Siriosi is asking the people of Bougainville to accept this decision as he has and move in supporting the new chief secretary in contributing to Bougainville’s peace, prosperity and development.
6.NEW AMENDMENTS to BOUGAINVILLE ELECTION ACT
The ABG House of Representatives this week made a number of amendments to the Bougainville Elections Act 2007, as well as an election-related amendment to the Bougainville Public Services (Management and Administration) Act 2014.
The Bougainville Elections Act 2007 is the law under which elections in Bougainville were conducted in the including the first was the Presidential By Election after the death of the first President, the late JOE KABUI in 2008.
The Elections Act was last amended in 2013,unfortunately, following a review of the impact of these amendments, it was realised that many of the changes will be difficult to implement before the next election.
The Acting Electoral Commissioner, MR GEORGE MANU expressed concern that, if these amendments remain in place, his ability to effectively deliver the 2015 general election will be jeopardised.
The key issues addressed under these new changes are on Postal Voting, Polling period the time public servants are required to resign to stand for Elections.
The amendment Bill will be passed at the March session of the ABG House.
LAW CLARIFIES ISSUES
By Aloysius Laukai
There is strong support for the adoption of measures to allow for voting by post in the coming 2015 ABG General Elections.
And as a result, the 2013 amending Act inserted new sections providing for a complex process of postal voting for electors who will be prevented from voting by illness or physical disability, or who will be outside Bougainville at the time of the election.
The Acting Electoral Commissioner is of the view that application of these provisions in their present form will significantly delay the counting of votes, making it unlikely that the writs will be able to be returned within the 2 weeks allowed under the law.
It is unfortunate, but it will not be possible to implement postal voting measures in time for the 2015 election. The Electoral Commissioner will review the capacity to adopt postal voting for future elections, which will be able to be provided for by regulations.
Before last year’s amendment, the Elections Act required the polling period to commence no earlier than 5 weeks after the issue of the writ, and no later than 8 weeks after the issue of the writ.
After the amendment, the polling period must now commence sometime between 3 and 7 days after the issue of the writ.
This is clearly a drafting error, as it overlaps with the nomination period for candidates.
And according to the Acting Electoral Commissioner If retained in its present form, there will be no time for campaigning, and no time for the printing of ballot papers.
The Acting Electoral Commissioner recommends that the polling period commence sometime between 6 and 8 weeks after the issue of the writ, to allow adequate time for all preparations for the poll to be made.
The amendments of the Bougainville Elections will be passed in the March session of the ABG House.
010115PUBLIC SERVANTS MUST RESIGN TO STAND IN 2015
By Aloysius Laukai
The latest amendments to the law on Bougainville Elections now clears the air on Public servants who want to stand for the upcoming ABG General Elections.
Prior to the amendment, there was inconsistency in the Bougainville Public Services (Management and Administration) Act 2014 between resignation ahead of National elections (where public servants must resign 6 months before the issue of the writ) and Bougainville elections (where public servants must resign 1 month before the writ issues).
This amendment standardises the obligation to resign and, in the case of general elections, provide for time to be calculated from a known date in the past, instead of ahead of an uncertain future date.
This means that there will be transitional arrangements for the 2015 Bougainville general election, as the amendment will mean that the date by which a public servant must resign will have already passed.
As a result, public servants wishing to contest the next Bougainville election will have to resign no later than 9 January 2015