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By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 12) – Papua New Guinea Enterprises and Information Minister Dr Puka Temu confirmed yesterday that he sacked the Telikom (PNG) board of directors on Friday for seeking a court injunction to block a partial sale of the company.

In confirming The National’s report on Wednesday, he said notices of dismissal and the appointment of the interim board members were delivered on Wednesday.

He said those dismissed had until today to appeal but they should vacate their offices to allow the interim directors to move in.

The interim board members include IPBC managing director Masket Iangalio as chairman and Acting Treasury Secretary Simon Tosali as deputy chairman and Acting Deputy Attorney-General Fred Tomo.

They would "keep the seat warm" until Cabinet made a final decision on the Telikom deal, Dr Temu told reporters at the Jacksons International Airport on his return from a mining conference in Sydney.

"The simple fact is that the (former) directors did not have the powers either by law or the constitution of Telikom to oppose the steps taken by National Executive Council (NEC).

"They cannot object to what they have no jurisdiction over, which is the decision to sell Telikom shares. That power under the law, which is the IPBC Act, remains with the NEC," he said.

He added that the NEC had directed Telikom to fully comply with any reasonable request by the IPBC to facilitate the prompt and efficient completion of this transaction.

Despite this, he said, the board applied to the court for an injunction "on this due and proper NEC process".

"To defy the direction of THE cabinet to me is not acceptable. As the minister responsible, who is implementing the NEC decision for the sale process, I have to protect the NEC directive.

"Cabinet’s decision was right to ask me to renegotiate the issue of shareholding ownership which I did," Dr Temu said.

He recently announced that instead of 51%, Econnet Wireless would take up 48% and allow the government to maintain control of Telikom with 52%.

Dr Temu said the sale process was still ongoing. "Upon advice from the Attorney-General, the transaction will go through the Central Agency Coordination Committee for clearance before I present it before Cabinet on Monday for deliberation.

"Once the NEC makes the decision on the future of Telikom, a new board will be appointed through a due process so that we have competent and proper persons," Dr Temu said.

December 13, 2004

The National:


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