SOLOMONS MINISTRY CONFIRMS SUSPENSION OF ENVOY

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Government contradicts Bata’anisia’s denial

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, May 26, 2011) -The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade confirms that the former Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Bernard Bata'anisia, has been recalled and subsequently suspended.

In a media statement the Ministry confirmed that following the outcome of a special audit report on the financial operation of the Solomon Islands High Commission in PNG, the Former High Commissioner has been recalled and suspended from duties on half pay.Yesterday, Mr Bata'anisia told the Solomon Star that he was not suspended but was simply recalled from his Port Moresby based office. Mr Bata'anisia says that such practice is normal with diplomats serving abroad.

"After serving over five years abroad the government decided that I should return and serve in a different capacity," said the former High Commissioner.

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that issues surrounding Mr Bata'anisia are being dealt with by the Ministry of Public Service in consultation with the Attorney General's Chambers.

The Ministry also confirmed that a letter was sent to Mr Bata'anisia advising him that he has been suspended pending investigations.

Mr Bata'anisia has been credited with establishing Solomon Islands first Chancery in Port Morseby. Mr Bata'anisia was also instrumental in establishing stronger business ties between the Solomon Islands and its staunch Melanesian ally, PNG.

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