HUNDREDS of teachers are protesting the delay in the processing of their annual leave fares, claiming that the system is riddled with irregularities and corrupt practices.
The PNG Teachers’ Association (PNGTA) branches in the National Capital District and Northern yesterday said the leave fares must be paid directly to the teachers’ bank accounts as done in Western Highlands.
The secretary of the PNGTA in the Southern region Raymond Ray said it was obvious that the current system used by the Education Department was robbing teachers of their leave entitlements.
“Our office is receiving complaints, especially during the end of the year, regarding the processing of leave entitlements. Things are just not right,” he said.
Issac Anego, the PNGTA Northern branch vice-president, said they had to petition the provincial government yesterday to urgently address the delay in the processing the annual leave fares.
Yesterday, teachers queued outside the NCD education department in Port Moresby to find out why their leave fares had been paid to certain travel agents without their approval.
A female teacher who asked not to be identified, claimed some education division officers were engaged in corrupt deals with travel agencies in the city to process the teachers’ leave tickets.
She said teachers were given three travel agencies to pick one from. Despite giving their choice to the department, she found out recently that a totally different travel agency was dealing with her tickets.
“I wanted my travel agency (named) to do my bookings and travel arrangements but the authorities without my knowledge or consent gave it to this unknown travel agency (named),” she said.
She said the unknown travel agency then deducted 7% of her entitlements for its fees.
And when she went to enquire about her tickets, they told her that their ticketing system was down.
She said: “I want my tickets to take my family home for Christmas. I cannot accept the cheque with a 7% deduction. The bank will charge me another fee. How much will I get after all these deductions?” she said.
Attempts to get a comment from the education department yesterday were unsuccessful. The National was told several times that the education advisers were unavailable.
Ray said: “Education authorities are engaging their own cronies (travel agent companies) to do ticketing arrangements for teachers.
“Instead of issuing them their entitled tickets, certain travel agencies are getting 7 to 10% commission and issuing cheques to the teachers instead of giving them tickets.
“This abuse of leave fares has been continuing for some time.”
Ray urged Governors in the Southern region to follow the system adopted by Western Highlands.
Ray said three weeks ago, NCD teachers from the Highlands region protested outside the Fincorp Building in Waigani because of the corrupt practices involved in their annual leave entitlements. The National
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