Justice Minister, Kerenga Kua, yesterday revealed that directions he issued three weeks ago as Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, to allow Unitech Vice Chancellor, Dr. Albert Schram, to return weren’t carried out.
The directives were given after consultation with foreign affairs minister, Rimbink Pato, who was overseas at the time.
But while Albert Schram can return to the country, Mr. Kua also revealed that there is a court order by the former University Council preventing Dr. Schram from taking up his post as Vice Chancellor.
Government lawyers are now working to set aside that court order.
It took a three week boycott to get answers from the government. An initial visit by the Higher Education Minister turned out to be an embarrassment for the government, after students snubbed an off-campus meeting.
Then a hard line stance, with threats to impose a state of emergency achieved little result. But yesterday was a breakthrough.
Following a cabinet meeting in Port Moresby, the Prime Minister sent a far more receptive team to Lae; Five senior Ministers that included State Enterprise Minister, Ben Micah, Richard Maru for Trade and Commerce, Police Minister, Robert Atiyafa, and the Justice Minister, Kerenga Kua.
They accompanied the Higher Education Minister Delilah Gore to Lae.
Just after 1pm yesterday, they met in a closed door conference at the university; a conference that took 4 long hours.
As the meeting progressed, frustrated students gathered outside, the meeting had to be suspended for a short while, as the SRC president calmed the students.
After 3 hours, more than 2 thousand students gathered at the forum area, while Justice Minister told them that Dr Albert Schram has been allowed back into the country.
It’s also been revealed that a court order by the members of the sideline university council still prevents Dr Schram from entering the University or taking up the Vice Chancellor’s post.
Speaking in Port Moresby, Prime Minister O’Neill maintained that at no time, the Government stopped Schram’s returned.
With the details now in the open, the next step is the Sevua report to be tabled.
On Wednesday, the Higher Education Minister will take the report to the National Executive Council. Cabinet is also expected to appoint a new council as the Government works towards lifting the court order preventing Schram’s return to Unitech.
The students meanwhile remain unmoved, as the main gate and the administration building will remain closed.