18 May 2007

PNG PM stops Finance Department inquiry

3:19 pm on 18 May 2007

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has indicated the Commission of Inquiry into the Finance Department is ending.

The Post Courier reports that the Commission is to hold its last public hearing today as its term expires on Sunday.

Sir Michael has withdrawn an earlier decision extending the term of the inquiry for another six months.

He cited the blow-out of the initial budget, the recruitment of an unregistered expatriate accountant and the payout of two former senior staff of the inquiry implicated in alleged fraud, as the reasons for rescinding his earlier decision.

The latest decision, according to a senior Government official, would motivate senior Finance Department officers and other government departments implicated to feel free and come forward and give evidence.