By Adelaide Sirox Kari – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The University of Papua New Guinea’s Uni-Venture building went up in flames this morning.
As a business entity, Uni-Venture is mandated under the UPNG Act and responsible in raising funds for the university, through publishing and the uni’s bookshop.
A former worker who was at the scene said the manager, Dr. John Evans, had collected books on PNG history from around the world and the books were valued at US$500,000. Converted to kina, that adds up to approximately K1.5 million.
But that cost is only a portion of what went up in flames. PNG NRL also rented an office space there and they had office equipment, training equipment, school kits and reading materials that were a part of the League Bilong Laif program.
When contacted, PNG NRL said it was yet to confirm the total loss. A statement will be released after further assessments of the damage.
Evidence of looting was quite obvious around the building. Half empty boxes and empty boxes that contained PNG NRL property were scattered everywhere, while printing cartridges were also scattered outside the burning building.
One of the books contained in the Uni-Venture office was the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare autobiography. The Sir Michael Somare Library was also was stoned yesterday.
Sir Michael Somare’s office was contacted, with the Grand Chief yet to comment on the situation.