16 Oct 2008

Singaporean businessman claims six PNG officials received missing millions

8:09 am on 16 October 2008

A Singaporean businessman has alleged six prominent Papua New Guinean officials received millions of dollars in a Taiwanese scandal of missing diplomatic cash.

PNG's Post-Courier newspaper reported the unnamed PNG men had received a portion of 20 million US dollars when Taiwan tried to buy stronger diplomatic relations.

Businessman Wu Shih-tsa told a Taipei court this week that in 2006 he received the money from the Taiwanese government to lure countries to agree to new diplomatic ties.

Wu is charged with forging a document in attempts to mislead investigators that the missing millions was in a Singaporean bank account.

Wu told the court he approached PNG officials in alleged meetings in Port Moresby, Taiwan and Singapore but could not convince them to switch diplomatic sides from the One China policy.

The missing millions scandal led to the resignation of Taiwan's vice premier and foreign minister.

Earlier this year PNG's government emphatically denied it considered forging diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

PNG's planning minister Paul Tiensten, MP Tim Bonga and lawyer Florian Gubon admitted to meeting Taiwanese officials in 2006 but insisted it was for trade purposes.