21 Jun 2005

PNG Prime Minister calls for investigation into former Minister's spending

7:44 pm on 21 June 2005

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has ordered an investigation into multi million kina payments made by former Cabinet minister, Andrew Baing.

Mr Baing left the Somare Government last year to join the Opposition.

Mr Baing and another MP, Isaac Taitibe, had earlier accused Sir Michael of paying millions to an American consultant, Kevin Conrad, who they have accused of stealing millions from a PNG coffee company.

Sir Michael challenged the two MPs to repeat the claims outside Parliament.

The National reports that Sir Michael later told reporters his government never paid Mr Conrad any money.

He said Mr Conrad was a reputable man who had helped the East Sepik provincial government broker a tuna deal.

Meanwhile Sir Michael has called for an investigation into 18 million kina believed to have been paid to a company called Coecon while Mr Baing was Fisheries Minister.

The Post Courier reports that it is believed the money was to cover marine navigation equipment in all PNG provinces.