5 Feb 2010

Major changes anticipated in PNG Cabinet

5:00 pm on 5 February 2010

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has told his coalition partners that a Cabinet reshuffle is imminent.

The National newspaper says the announcement comes after the Highlands faction in the ruling National Alliance re-elected the Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye as its deputy leader within the party.

He replaces Education Minister James Marape, who relinquished the post on Wednesday.

Earlier the islands faction of the NA had sacked Cabinet Minister Paul Tiensten as its representative in the party.

They have called for him to be dumped from the Cabinet, while a leadership tribunal inquiry into Finance and Treasury Minister, Patrick Pruaitch, may cost him his job.

Others under threat are the Agriculture Minister John Hickey, Health Minister Sasa Zibe, Labour Minister Mark Maipakai, and Correctional Services' Tony Aimo.

Meanwhile the National quotes legal sources saying the Prime Minister would be taking a risk if he went ahead with the proposed changes.