21 Mar 2005

PNG Ombudsman Commission to look into golden handshake

1:34 pm on 21 March 2005

Papua New Guinea's Ombudsmen Commission has expressed concern over the National Executive Council's decision to make a golden handshake payment to former politician Sir Peter Lus.

Although the cabinet has the prerogative to make decisions, the commission is concerned that the 160 thousand U.S. dollar payment is unprecedented and raises a lot of questions in the public mind.

Chief Ombudsmen, Ila Geno, says he learnt from media reports that the payment will be made "in cash and kind", and will be kept in a trust account and not be applied to political activities.

The newspaper, the National, reports that Mr Geno questions why the payment comes with certain conditions and, if the payment will be made in cash and kind, what the term 'kind' entails.

He says the public must be informed and that the commission will look into the decision making process as well as the propriety of NEC to ensure it is proper in law.