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ABG Payroll and Recruitment Issues

The Autonomous Bougainville Government will be taking action against officers systematically manipulating the ABG Public Service Payroll System for personal gain.

ABG Minister for Public Service Robert Hamal Sawa said he will not tolerate such behaviour and is placing all public servants on notice. Those who are found to have engaged in illegal practices will face the full weight of the law.

This follows evidence gathered by the Bougainville Administration of certain public servants manipulating the payroll system to pay themselves at levels which they are not entitled to.

“I am also concerned to learn that some recent recruitment processes have not followed due process. I have therefore instructed the Acting Secretary for Personnel Management to take immediate action to revoke suspected appointments and to implement a new open, transparent and merit based process,” Mr Sawa said.

“In the meantime I have asked that the Chief Secretary requests urgent support from the National Department of Personnel Management in addressing the recruitment and payroll matters,” Mr Sawa added.

This includes implementing centralised processes to prevent unauthorised payroll changes from being made and support in undertaking a comprehensive audit of the payroll system so that irregularities can be identified and future safeguards be put in place.

As a first step to curbing this problem the Acting Secretary has arranged for the locks to the payroll premises to be changed. There are also enforced requirements for work process charting being introduced to enable appropriate checks and balances to take place.

The department will also be implementing a comprehensive reporting arrangement with the direction that any future changes to the payroll operational matters will have to be approved by the Acting Secretary personally.

Minister Sawa has also requested that the Acting Secretary seek urgent legal advice regarding the suspension of officers implicated in fraud whilst the audit process proceeds.

“As minister I will not tolerate these activities and I assure the broader public service and general public that immediate action will be taken to address these serious issues,” Mr Sawa said.

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