1 Dec 2011

PNG corruption task force has 33 prominent people on watchlist

8:07 pm on 1 December 2011

A Papua New Guinea corruption task force has put 33 prominent citizens - including politicians - on a watch list, telling the national airline to monitor their travel.

The Task Force Sweep chairman, Sam Koim, told AAP he sent a letter to Air Niugini chief executive Wasantha Kumarasiri last week requesting that the movements of 33 bureaucrats and politicians to be monitored.

PNG's National newspaper reports former planning minister Paul Tiensten is on the list, as well as prominent business figure, Eremas Wartoto, and national planning secretary, Ruby Zarriga.

Mr Koim won't confirm which names were on the list.

In September, Mr Tiensten fled to Australia after he was approached by the task force for questioning into more than four million US dollars released to Mr Wartoto to set up an airline.

Task Force Sweep, which was set up by the PNG Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, as one of his first acts of office, says the airline doesn't exist.

Last month on his return to PNG, Mr Tiensten was charged with misappropriation of funds, conspiracy to defraud the state and abuse of office.