13 Nov 2006

PNG top level suspensions still unconfirmed

5:10 pm on 13 November 2006

Top officials in Papua New Guinea are awaiting confirmation of their suspensions.

The newspaper, The National, has reported the chief secretary Joshua Kalinoe, the acting police commissioner, Tom Kulunga, and the defence force commander, Commodore Peter Ilau, were all suspended last Thursday by Cabinet.

Our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says the three have yet to be officially told about it.

"The media here in PNG have actually been quoting sources within cabinet who actually leaked out this information. But the people in question have indicated that they are yet to be informed, in black and white."

Alex Rheeney says the removal of the three may be a bid by the PNG government to improve strained relations with Australia over the Julian Moti affair.

Mr Moti, who is an Australian citizen and the suspended attorney-general of Solomon Islands, escaped from PNG to Solomons Islands in a PNG defence force plane a month ago.

Three separate investigations have been launched into the case but the findings are yet to be released.