Thursday, January 15, 2009

Opposition demands action on Taiwan scandal

The Opposition yesterday called on the Somare Government to come clean on the Taiwan US$30 million (K85 million) cash for recognition scandal, The National newspaper reports.

Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta made the call after Taiwan’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Control Yuan, decided this week to press corruption charges against former National Security Council general secretary Chiou I-jen and former foreign affairs minister Huang Chi-fang in relation to the secret deal.

The two were high-profile and influential figures in the last government of Taiwan, and met on different occasions with PNG politicians, including Public Accounts Committee chairman Timothy Bonga, Planning Minister Paul Tiensten and Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Mekere said Taiwan prosecutors had determined that there was sufficient evidence of corruption for them to go ahead with the charges.

“The Taiwanese clearly treat this case very seriously. Their officials were party to this dirty deal, and are now facing the consequences. Those in PNG, who are party to this deal, should be dealt with similar action.

“We cannot keep quiet and hope that this issue will go away, and people will forget. It must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet, as has been the case with other corruption issues the Government has failed to provide answers to.

“The Prime Minister promised a high level of transparency in Government when he took office. He promised to fight corruption at all levels of government. Sadly, he has done very little to live up to this promise to the people of Papua New Guinea.

“It is incumbent on the Prime Minister to launch an official investigation. People who are allegedly involved in this scandal must be investigated and given the opportunity to clear their names or face the full force of the law. If we do not act, we will lose the respect of the international community.

“If we do not act, our own people will lose even more respect for Government and for the rule of law,” Sir Mekere said.


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