Bribery allegations in the Marshall Islands have prompted the government to appoint the government's chief secretary as interim secretary of health.
Seven ministry of health administrators and one ministry of finance official have been put on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of fraud.
The public servants are suspected of taking bribes in exchange for awarding contracts.
Officials in both the auditor general's office and the attorney general's office have indicated that criminal charges are expected to be filed in the High Court in the next few days.
The extraordinary appointment was approved by president Christopher Loeak and the public service chairperson Marie Maddison, which our correspondent says highlights the gravity of problems at the ministry.