14 May 2008

PNG's Prime Minister says he mistakenly signed document to terminate inquiry

8:46 am on 14 May 2008

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says he "erroneously signed" documents terminating a finance inquiry into nearly 400 thousand US dollars missing from the public purse.

Sir Michael Somare told parliament he wanted "to clear misconceptions" and "misleading media coverage" that he stopped the inquiry after an interim report's "not only staggering but frightening" findings.

He said while the interim report does not discuss specific cases it does highlight certain anomalies that should be of concern to all of us.

Sir Michael said he "erroneously signed" documents stopping the inquiry "during his haste to go to Wewak," his home town in PNG's Sepik Province on the northeast coast.

He said his regret is having placed too much trust in the professionalism and accuracy of the public service.

Sir Michael said he wanted to temporarily suspend the inquiry for more time to read the interim report thoroughly.