16 Jan 2009

PNG opposition challenges government over 2006 Taiwan dealings

4:02 pm on 16 January 2009

The Papua New Guinea opposition has called on the government to come clean on the Taiwan 30 million US dollar so-called cash-for-recognition scandal.

According to the newspaper, The National, the opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta made the call after Taiwan's anti-corruption watchdog decided to press corruption charges against the former National Security Council general secretary Chiou I-jen and former foreign minister Huang Chi-fang in relation to the secret deal.

On different occasions, the two met PNG politicians, including the Public Accounts Committee chairman Timothy Bonga, the Planning Minister Paul Tiensten and the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Mekere says Taiwanese prosecutors had determined that there was sufficient evidence of corruption for them to go ahead with the charges.

He says as Taiwan treats this case very seriously, officials in PNG, who are party to this deal, should also be dealt with similar action.

The story came to light last year and relates to PNG striking a deal with Taiwan in 2006.

PNG has ties with China but in July 1999 it was briefly an ally of Taiwan until the new PNG leadership scrapped the arrangement with Taipei.