9 May 2008

PNG public accounts chair comes out about Taiwan

2:42 pm on 9 May 2008

The chairman of Papua new Guinea's Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Timothy Bonga has come out publicly about his trip to Taiwan in 2006.

The newspaper, The National, reports that Taiwanese journalists have been seeking information on Mr Bonga and lawyer Florian Gubon in connection with the US$30 million cash for recognition scandal that caused two high profile politicians to resign.

Mr Bonga and Dr Gubon were apparently in Taiwan at the time when Taipei secretly released about US$30 million to two middlemen to be paid to PNG in exchange for diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.

The diplomatic recognition never came, and now Taiwanese authorities are seeking to recover the money from the two middlemen.

Those who have resigned in connection with the scandal include Taiwan's vice premier and foreign minister.

Mr Bonga has confirmed he took a trip to Taiwan that year in his then capacity as chairman of a PNG water company.

But he says any suggestion that he may have personally benefited from any funds for recognition deal that might have been under way at that time is misconstrued and false.