21 Oct 2004

PNG Cabinet Minister declared insolvent

2:59 pm on 21 October 2004

Papua New Guinea's National Court has declared health minister, Melchior Pep, insolvent.

The Post-Courier newspaper reports that the minister was declared insolvent after failing to pay money owing to a former MP, Puri Ruing.

Mr Pep's debts arose from his unsuccessful court action against the election of Mr Ruing as MP for the Dei constituency in 1997.

The Court of Disputed Returns had rejected his challenge and awarded costs to Mr Ruing.

Mr Pep made a part-payment of the debt in 2001 but failed to pay off the balance.

The paper notes that under an amendment to the constitution a declaration of insolvency gives grounds for a parliamentarian to be disqualified from office.