The acting Cook Islands finance secretary, Kevin Carr, says he's mystified by his dismissal.
The minister of finance, Wilkie Rasmussen, notified Mr Carr by letter that he was being sacked.
Mr Carr, who'd been appointed in March by Mr Rasmussen to deal with issues such as the Toa fuel farm fiasco, says the letter made claims he'd used the media to undermine the minister, cabinet and government.
Mr Carr, who had planned to leave by the end of this year, says relations with Mr Rasmussen had seemed amicable, and he's stunned by the move.
"I find it rather strange to say the least. I can't really see why, if he had concerns he didn't talk to me. I have said many times that I would prefer my replacement to be in before Christmas, because for various reasons I didn't want it to go over into the New Year."