6 Jul 2006

PNG cabinet reshuffle sees Treasurer dumped and DPM demoted

1:05 pm on 6 July 2006

Papua New Guinea's Treasurer, Bart Philomen, has been dumped and the deputy prime minister, Sir Moi Avei, has been demoted in a cabinet reshuffle.

The prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, sacked Mr Philomen after he mounted a leadership challenge earlier in the year and replaced him with the Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu.

The deputy prime minister, Sir Moi, has been returned to his mining and energy portfolio after allegations of misconduct in office, and his post has been taken by Don Polye.

Our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says the prime minister has taken a gamble in what has been a wide ranging cabinet reshuffle.

"According to Sir Michael, the changes were made in preparation for the elections next year, the general elections next year. Now, he says the government has played a big role in turning the economy around so he needed to make the changes at the right time to ensure that the government was returned after the elections next year."

Alex Rheeney says the Defence Minister, Matthew Gubag, and the Correctional Services Minister, Posi Menai, have also been sacked.

Another two ministers of state but without portfolios, Atimeng Buhupe, and Brian Pulayasi have also been dumped.