Disgraced Finance Secretary slammed in COI Report gets PhD & Teaching Fellowship in Australia
What does a disgraced former Finance Secretary do after they are sacked for presiding over one of the biggest scams in PNG history. They go to Australia to get a PhD!
Thaddeus Kambanei was Finance Secretary from 2001-2006. During this period hundreds of millions in Kina was paid out through a range of frauds, including the infamous bogus lawsuit scam.
The Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance report [6.7MB] notes:
‘The Inquiry found that Mr. Kambanei tried his level best to disassociate himself from many questionable and fraudulent payments processed during his tenure in office. He stated that Deputy Secretary Gabriel Yer would have been responsible for these claims. The Commission finds Mr. Kambanei’s evidence to be misleading, evasive and not credible. At all material times he was responsible for directing his staff to process settlement of claims against State. The Commission further noted that he pooled funds improperly and illegally to settle these claims and it was evident that he was in control and knew exactly what he was doing contrary to the PFMA and the Appropriation Act … Mr. Thaddeus Kambanei abused his position as Secretary for Finance to access funds illegally from monies legally set aside for other purposes’.
But that did not stop Thaddeus from obtaining a Phd at the University of Canberra – which rather shows how much Australia really cares about corruption and good governance in PNG!
Unbelievably the PhD, awarded in March 2014, was based on a case study into the Department of Finance! And Kambanei thanks one of his co-conspirators in the Department of Finance debacle, Gabriel Yer (his Deputy during the heist) for granting him access to data:
‘I am also thankful to Mr Gabriel Yer, the Secretary for the DoF, for granting me access to the department and making all of the information available for the data collection segment of my doctoral studies’.
More worryingly the man at the centre of PNG’s grand heist was given a Teaching Fellow Award at the University of Canberra. Yes, the University actually paid Kambanei to teach fellow students!
Thaddeus writes in his PhD acknowledgement:
‘I also want to thank the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, and the School of Information Systems and Accounting, University of Canberra—especially Professors Monir Mir, Milind Sathye and Mark Evens—for considering me worthy of receiving the Teaching Fellowship Award in the discipline of Accounting, Banking and Finance. The award been rewarding for the past four years, and teaching students at the undergraduate and postgraduate diploma levels, as well as rubbing shoulders with visiting international academics and fellow academics in the faculty and the university generally, has been the experience of a lifetime’.