29 May 2007

Major inquiry planned into allegations of the sale of citizenship in PNG

7:09 pm on 29 May 2007

Papua New Guinea's Department of Foreign Affairs is to investigate allegations of bribery and corrupt practices within its immigration and citizenship section.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that the Foreign Affairs Secretary, Gabriel Pepson, wants a comprehensive investigation headed by the Prime Minister's Department.

He said the other members on the investigation team would be from the police trans-national crime unit, and the Attorney General, Labour, Personnel Management and Foreign Affairs departments.

The Post Courier revealed last week allegations that people seeking visas and citizenship had directly paid some officials thousands of dollars to have their applications processed.

Mr Pepson says the investigation should not only look at the allegations but make recommendations into how best the division could be structured to rid itself of such allegations.

He says the public should also be called to give evidence about alleged offences by staff and also any businesses or foreigners involved in bribing public servants.

Transparency International Papua New Guinea is also investigating the claims.