11 Mar 2003

PNG Government suspends a Cabinet Minister over gun charges

4:42 pm on 11 March 2003

Papua New Guinea's minister for tourism has been suspended from office to face firearm charges.

Alois Kingsley was released on bail last week after he pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, possession of a gun while under the influence of liquor, wilful damage and threatening to shoot.

Local media say that yesterday the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare suspended Mr Kingsley, because of the widespread community outcry over the allegations.

The charges relate to an incident in December when Kingsley allegedly threatened a university professor at gunpoint at a rugby match in Port Moresby.

Mr Kingsley's suspension comes just days after the Public Services Minister Dr Puka Temu was ousted from his post by the courts.

A rival candidate, former Cabinet Minister Kilroy Genia, had taken Mr Temu to court alleging he bribed his electorate with an ambulance.