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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 20, 1998 - Radio Australia)--- Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate has rejected speculation that he is about to dismiss the country's Chief Justice.

This follows the sudden sacking last week of several cabinet ministers.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that Bill Skate has promised that his government will not interfere with the PNG judiciary:

"Bill Skate today named his new Ministerial line-up. The Treasurer, Iairo Lasaro, becomes Deputy Prime Minister while three of the Ministers he said he was sacking last week have held onto their Ministries by severing their ties with the former Deputy PM, Michael Nali.

"Claiming his new team would survive any vote of no confidence next year, Mr. Skate hit out at rumors being spread by elements close to Mr. Nali and the former Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, that he would be sacking the Chief Justice, Sir Arnold Amet, next.

"Skate said, 'My Government and I have no intention whatsoever to interfere with the independence and integrity of the judiciary system.'

"In his reshuffle, Mr. Skate takes over responsibility for the public service.

"Sean Dorney, Port Moresby."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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