14 Nov 2013

PNG PM orders anti-corruption squad to probe land deal

7:28 pm on 14 November 2013

The Papua New Guinea prime minister has ordered the anti-corruption investigator, Task Force Sweep, to look into the sale of state land to a foreigner.

According to the newspaper, The National, the Post and Telecommunications land has been valued at 11.6 million US dollars but was sold for 1.5 million.

The prime minister, Peter O'Neill, has also told parliament he has put a stop to any development on the land opposite Jack Pidik Park, at 5-Mile, until the sale is investigated.

He was responding to a question from an MP, Camillus Dangma, who asked if any investigation had been commissioned into how the land was transferred outside the normal process.

The lands minister, Benny Allan, says the transfer had been done privately without the knowledge of his department.

Mr O'Neill says the government's Independent Public Business Corporation, which valued the land at more than 11 million US dollars, had raised concerns about the sale, prompting the corruption investigation.