9 Nov 2004

Catholic Archbishop advises PNG government to think twice over phone company sell off

7:32 pm on 9 November 2004

The Catholic Archbishop of Port Moreby has warned that the sale of PNG Telikom to the Zimbabwe company Econet could harm the people of Papua New Guinea.

Archbishop Sir Brian Barnes says reports show Econet is involved in legal problems and it's a small company with inadequate funds to benefit PNG.

The Independent Public Business Corporation and the Communications Minister Dr Puka Temu have both endorsed the sale to Econet.

Since their endorsement it has been revealed that five Econet directors have been arrested for business crimes in Zimbabwe.

Archbishop Barnes says the arrests should make the government think twice before the sale.

"If this sale was to go ahead well then it may be that PNG is being ripped off. There could be some individuals that are going to benefit from this. Corruption is a rather major problem in Papua New Guinea and this might be evidence of some kind of corrupt dealing going on and it should be properly investigated."

The Archbishop of Port Moresby Sir Brian Barnes.