18 Dec 2006

Cooks secretary suspended over NZ project

6:48 am on 18 December 2006

A prominent Cook Islands public servant has been suspended over problems with a New Zealand Government-funded project.

The Cook Islands Herald says the Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Development, Maki Karati, is being investigated by the Public Service Commission.

The newspaper says Mr Karati's suspension follows the allegedly threatening manner in which he responded to a complaint about the way the project was being handled.

The complainant was a New Zealander involved in the project.

Tthe Herald reported that the person had considered laying a complaint with Police,.

The Minister for Culture, Wilkie Rasmussen, has confirmed the suspension.

Public Service Commissioner Navy Epati confirmed he is investigating but declined to comment further because it may prejudice the right to a fair hearing.