10 May 2008

PNG minister admits meeting with man involved in Taiwan's diplomatic cash scandal

9:46 am on 10 May 2008

Papua New Guinea's Planning Minister, Paul Tiensten, has admitted meeting one of two middlemen involved in Taiwan's $US30 million 'diplomatic cash' scandal.

The disappearance of the $US30 million intended for Papua New Guinea 2006.

At that time, Taiwanese middleman Wu Shi-tsai and another go-between were hired to pass the aid money to PNG, now an ally of China.

PNG was briefly an ally of Taiwan ally in July 1999 until the new leadership scrapped the deal with Taipei.

Mr Tiensten was PNG's minister for trade and industry at the time but says he was acting as foreign affairs minister when he met the Taiwanese in 2006.

He has denied any wrongdoing and has told PNG's Post Courier newspaper to speak to Florian Gubon, who was the team's legal adviser on the trip.

Meanwhile, the chairman of PNG's Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Timothy Bonga has come out publicly about a trip he made to Taiwan in 2006.

He said he was in Taiwan on business before visiting several other Asian countries.