TOP PNG OFFICIAL TERMINATED FOR FIFTH TIME

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Transparency group applauds action

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 29, 2008) – Transparency International in Papua New Guinea has welcomed the termination of Papua New Guinea’s Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari.

It is the fifth time the senior politician has been fired, and comes as the ongoing inquiry into the whereabouts of more than US$70-million missing from PNG’s Finance Department begins again.

Mike Manning says he hasn’t seen any evidence Mr Lupari has directly been interfering in the inquiry

But he says it is easy to draw a conclusion when the inquiry was suspended on Friday and Mr Lupari was scheduled to give evidence the following Monday.

"I suppose applaud is a little bit strong. We believe that Mr Lupari does have some questions to answer, and it’s better that he answers those before the inquiry, and before he is given senior government positions."

Mike Manning says controversy like this does undermine the legitimacy of the inquiry, but he does welcome the move.

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