13 Sep 2004

PNG prime minister briefed on about alleged bugging by Australia

1:37 pm on 13 September 2004

Senior national security officials in Papua New Guinea have travelled to Wewak to brief the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, on reports of Australia allegedly bugging phones in key government agencies.

The allegations were reported in the Post Courier newspaper last week.

Sir Michael has been in Wewak to witness the launch of the East Sepik provincial government corporate plan.

The Australian Federal Police have emphatically denied being involved in espionage in Papua New Guinea.

In a letter to the Post Courier, Telikom PNG's company secretary, Gregory Manda, has also denied that switch stations in the telephone exchanges had been bugged.

Sir Michael is said to have been angry over the reported bugging of telephone lines in the four mainline government agencies.