1 Jul 2009

PNG climate change official suspended amid speculation about suspect deals

1:56 pm on 1 July 2009

The director of Papua New Guinea's Office of Climate Change, Dr Theo Yasause, has been suspended while an internal investigation of the office is carried out.

PNG's cabinet decided last Friday to sideline Dr Yasause after much speculation surrounding his role but has made no public explanation for its move.

Dr Yasause has denied any wrongdoing after a series of media reports highlighted anomalies with his Office issuing multi-million dollar carbon trading deals without any policy or legislation in place.

He has denied any money had changed hands but documents obtained by the news agency AAP show the Australian company Carbon Planet paid about a million US dollars for projects in PNG.

Documents leaked to The Economist magazine show Dr Yasause had made deals on a range of other projects throughout PNG.

Dr Yasause has since claimed that the leaked documents were not real deals but samples.

New Guinea island has the world's third-largest remaining rainforest and the PNG government wants to turn its part of the asset into carbon trading revenue.