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The saga of climate expert Alfred Rungol


Alfred Rungol

NOOSA, QLD - On Tuesday 31 October, an unusual full page advertisement appeared. It advised of the reinstatement of Alfred Rungol to his job as a divisional general manager of Papua New Guinea’s Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA).

Rungol’s responsibilities include CCDA’s international negotiation and reporting obligations as well as the measurement and verification of PNG’s climate change efforts. That’s quite a role in a country with an economy that is so resource-dependent.

But why had Rungol been sacked and how, after a long struggle, was he able to return to his job? I’ll let Alfred tell the story.

“The announcement [came] following a successful 15 months of redress of the unlawful termination of my employment contract with CCDA after I had raised issues of malpractice in the Authority,” Rungol said.

In fact, he had been officially reinstated by prime minister James Marape on 16 October 2022 but, well, these things take time in PNG, as my friend Professor Albert Schram knows only too well.

“After 15 months of battle, finally the truth has prevailed,” Rungol said. “When you fight corruption, corruption will fight back by using public funds….

“I hope my struggle to stand up and speak the truth is an example to all Papua New Guineans.

“I stand for what is right and I exposed malpractices and corruption. It took me 15 months to resolve my unlawful termination after false allegations.”

And even after that, Rungol had another fight on his hands when the CCDA’s acting managing director, William Lakain, published a misleading media statement about the reasons for Rungol’s illegal sacking.

“The content of the advertisement made by [Lakain] contains multiple inaccuracies and legal breaches,” Rungol wrote in a published rebuttal.

The fraudulent allegations made against Rungol included harassing female staff, fighting a subordinate while intoxicated, causing disharmony in the organisation, writing off a hired vehicle and other matters.

In fact, he had been sacked because he had reported fraud, theft, drunkenness and other corrupt practices and misconduct in the CCDA, whose acting managing director is alleged to have been unlawfully appointed and is himself now the subject of a fraud investigation.

It has been alleged that 462 cheques totalling of K5.1 million have been misappropriated from the Climate Change and Development Authority.

“It’s now with police and court to determine the allegations,” he said. “Evidence was served in court to go for trial, thank God!”

Rungol is a 17-year veteran in the CCDA. His appointment followed tertiary studies at PNG’s Unitech (BSc) and the University of Melbourne (MSc), both degrees focussing on environmental science & technology.

These days, in addition to his senior day job, he also publishes on Twitter (now known as X) a useful and wide-ranging compilation of material on climate change and a lively forum for his own well-informed comments on climate issues.

Link to the site here at @ARungol or https://twitter.com/arungol 

Rungol reinstatement


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Lindsay F Bond

One onward in the legitimate role,
then other wags likely to be rolled.

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