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Vice Premier under probe over missing $30 million

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 22, 2008) – The Taiwanese attempt to buy Papua New Guinean’s official recognition has claimed a high-ranking scalp in Taipei.

The Asian nation’s Vice Premier Chiou I-jen is under investigation for alleged involvement in the bid to win PNG’s favour and has announced he will resign from the ruling party.

"My role in the scandal has made me deeply ashamed in the face of our nation and our people," Mr Chiou said in a statement.

Earlier this year, two Taiwanese men were implicated in the attempt to pay PNG government leaders millions of dollars to get diplomatic recognition. Taiwan is considered by Beijing to be a province of China, but the island of Taiwan maintains a continual campaign to win recognition as a separate and independent country.

Yesterday, Taiwanese prosecutors announced that the vice premier was suspected of corruption in connection with the diplomatic scandal involving the attempted defrauding of the Taiwan government of nearly US$30 million.

The money has vanished, so has one of the two intermediaries of the Taiwan regime.

Vice-Premier Chiou was suspected of involvement in the fraud and barred from leaving Taiwan while an investigation was underway, the prosecutors’ office said.

Mr Chiou had been interrogated twice, it said.

The office gave no details on what role Mr Chiou is suspected of having played in the scheme.


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