Foreign office confirms suspension of envoy

National, Normal

The National, Friday, 27th May 2011

FORMER Solomon Islands high commissioner to Papua New Guinea Bernard Bata’anisia is suspended and on half-pay, the Solomon Islands ministry of foreign affairs and external trade confirmed yesterday.
In a media statement, the ministry said following the outcome of a special audit report on the financial operation of the Solomon Islands high commission in PNG, Bata’anisia has been recalled and suspended.
Yesterday, Bata’anisia told the Solomon Star he had not been suspended but simply recalled from his Port Moresby-based office.
He said such practice was normal with diplomats.
“After serving over five years abroad the government decided that I should return and serve in a different capacity,” he had said.
But the ministry of foreign affairs said issues surrounding Bata’anisia were being dealt with by the ministry of public service in consultation with the attorney-general’s chambers.
The ministry said a letter had been sent to Bata’anisia advising him of his suspension pending investigations.
Bata’anisia has been credited with establishing Solomon Islands first Chancery in Port Moresby.
Bata’anisia was also instrumental in establishing stronger business ties between the Solomon Islands and its staunch Melanesian ally, PNG. – Solomon Times Online