PX probes leaked list

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 02nd December 2011

AIR Niugini has ordered an investigation into the leaking of a classified government document to The National about a clandestine operation to record the movements of 33 prominent citizens and report to the government.
The airline yesterday set up a three-member panel to find out who leaked the Nov 23 letter, adding that it had a zero-to­lerance policy on leaking of confidential documents.
The letter was from Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim to Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri asking to “monitor” the movements of 33 people who, according to the list provi­ded to The National, included parliamenta­rians and senior bureaucrats.
Kumarasiri said in statement sent from the airline’s corporate affairs department yesterday that he was disappointed with the leakage of “confidential” information.
The “very confidential” letter sought the airline’s cooperation because of pending court cases and investigations by Task Force Sweep.
Among those on the list were Kokopo businessman Eremas Wartoto and former national planning minister and Pomio MP Paul Tiensten.
Wartoto and Tiensten have been charged with fraud-related offences relating to the K10 million released to Wartoto to help him buy aircraft for his new airline company.
Also named were National Planning secretary Ruby Zarriga and the department’s suspended assistant secretary infrastructure and economic division William Sent.
Both are on bail awaiting their hearing at the Committal Court in Waigani.
The statement said Kumarasiri expressed “disappointment” over the lead story in The National yesterday.
It added that the Task Force Sweep was established by the National Executive Council and Air Niugini was required to comply with the directives of the investigation team.
“However, Kumarasiri is disappointed to learn that someone receiving the watch list letter within Air Niugini appeared to have leaked information to the media and the public,” the statement said.