By Meleasie Goviro – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Head of the National Statistical Office (NSO), Roko Koloma, called a press conference today after a damning article published in a local paper yesterday putting him on the spot for evading several warrants of arrest. Koloma remained tight-lipped about the fraud allegations made against him.
He emphasised more instead on the bearing the issue had on the NSO workers. He also denied avoiding arrest, saying he was merely away for four weeks on leave.
At the NSO headquarters in Port Moresby today (May 1st, 2018), Koloma addressed the media flanked with an entourage of workers, supporting his defences. Outside, former Deputy National Statistician, Ben Kiele, held his own protest. Kiele has decided Koloma is looking guilty already for allegedly evading the arrest.
Meanwhile, he maintains a longstanding claim of his own to the currently occupied NSO Deputy’s seat. Koloma denied the allegations of misappropriation of K25 million, denying everything. And declined to comment any further on the matter. He said the issue at hand was proving to be a disruption for his department.
Koloma said Kiele and his supporters also played a part in this, claiming they had deliberately locked him out of his office several times. NSO workers supporting his defense voiced their combined frustration. They believe he has proven himself worthy of the role as a, “better trained statistician”.
Koloma maintains the police have not followed due process in pursuing an arrest, calling it a ‘defective case’.
Meanwhile, in Kiele’s case for the Deputy’s seat, the NSO head commented saying Dennis Gomnaisso was the legitimate Deputy National Statistician by law.