21 Apr 2008

PNG Prime Minister disbands his own inquiry into corruption in a key Government department

3:17 pm on 21 April 2008

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has disbanded a commission of inquiry he appointed in 2006 to investigate allegations of widespread corruption and abuse of public funds in the Department of Finance.

Sir Michael disbanded the inquiry on Friday with the sole Commissioner, retired Judge Maurice Sheehan and his staff ordered by security personnel to leave their offices as locks were changed.

Two weeks ago, Mr Sheehan had delivered an interim report to the Prime Minister.

The Commission of Inquiry was set up after serious concerns were raised by MPs who had information alleging widespread misuse of public funds at the department.

The PNG Opposition has called on Sir Michael to resign from office if he cannot give a justifiable explanation for shutting the inquiry down.