PM denies Taiwan scandal

National, Normal

The National- Friday, January 21, 2011

 PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare has refuted claims that the PNG government is involved in the Taiwan diplomacy scandal.

He said the allegations by Transparency International and Bulolo MP Sam Basil this week were baseless.

“A very competent court-the Singapore high court has identified and charged the culprits,” Sir Michael said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said, at the conclusion of the Singapore proceedings, there was no mention of any PNG involvement.

“As far as the government of PNG is concerned, the issue has been resolved.”

Sir Michael called on TIPNG not to be used by political opportunists.

He said since 2007, without any evidence, opportunists had used the media to continually infer that government ministers were involved in the scandal.

The prime minister said at that time, it was difficult for the government to respond to such baseless allegations, which allowed suspicion to grow in the people’s minds. 

“This government, for three years, had to put up with insinuations and false accusations until the legal process was completed in Singapore last May.

“It is dishonest to have planted the seed of suspicion in the minds of the public that this government was implicated in the scandal and, then, to do nothing to clear the lie by telling the truth,” Sir Michael said.

He said withholding facts was, in itself, a form of corrupt behaviour.