29 Dec 2011

New Zealander deportee from PNG may be victim of political stoush

5:39 pm on 29 December 2011

A New Zealander who runs a well known restaurant in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, has been deported.

Graham Osborne runs the Ela Beach Brasserie.

The Post Courier reports that immigration and police officers went to his house early on Wednesday with a search warrant.

They were looking for a unregistered gun, drugs and pornography but the paper quotes a friend of Mr Osborne, saying they found nothing.

But Mr Osborne, who has lived in PNG for many years, was then driven to the airport by police and put on a flight to Cairns.

He's a close friend of Sir Michael Somare who has been in a battle for the control of the government with Peter O'Neill.

Sir Michael's group had used the Ela Beach Hotel, where the restaurant is, as their temporary meeting place during the political turmoil last week.

The paper says it appears Mr Osborne is the victim of the political tug-o-war.

The Immigration office has told the Post-Courier it was acting on a complaint from the government.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the deportation.

In a brief statement it says consular assistance has been offered to the New Zealander and that it understands a lawyer has been engaged in PNG.