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On again, off again probe sought additional resources

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 10, 2008) – The Government has allocated an additional PGK13 million [US$4.97 million] for the continuation of the Commission of Inquiry into the Finance Department.

[PIR editor’s note: The Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate the disappearance of more than PGK270 million [US$101 million] in public funds from the Finance Department between January 2000 and July 2006. According to PIR archives, PM Somare did halt the probe in the finance department in May 2007, but he backpedaled in April 2007. Also, funds for the probe during the 2007 period were increased from US$1.7 million-$3.5 million.]

Acting Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu told Parliament yesterday that the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had asked for additional funding which was approved at the recent Cabinet meeting in Manus.

The acting Prime Minister was responding to questions from Tewai Siassi Member Vincent Michaels who asked what was happening with the "on and off" inquiry into the Finance Department which he said was "dragging long enough."

He asked whether funding had been made available and when the Commission of Inquiry would start.

Dr Temu said the Prime Minister presented an intermediate report on the Commission of Inquiry and the request for additional funding to continue the inquiry was approved.

"The Government has no intention of stopping the inquiry so it has allocated K13 million for the inquiry to continue," he said.

Dr Temu said the inquiry would start as soon as the chairman of the inquiry had organised his staff.

The National:

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