22 Mar 2006

PNG opposition questions finance secretary's suspension

6:53 pm on 22 March 2006

The Papua New Guinea opposition has questioned the purported decision by the government to suspend the Finance Secretary Thaddeus Kambanei.

The opposition leader, Peter O'Neill, says the legitimate processes require the Finance Secretary and his Minister Bart Philemon to front up and give evidence, not to be sent away on holiday.

Mr O'Neill says the Public Accounts Committee had every right to investigate serious allegations of theft and financial maladministration and the secretary and minister had a duty to answer the charges.

He has asked why the government decided to suspend Mr Kambanei when he would be needed to at the PAC inquiry.

The reason for the suspension was not given, nor the period of his suspension.

Mr Kambanei had sought legal interpretation over the Finance Department's referral by Parliament to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee for an investigation into its affairs.