Tiensten arrested

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday 16th November 2011

MEMBER for Pomio and former national planning minister Paul Tiensten has been arrested and charged by police in Port Moresby.
The charges were related to a K10 million funding released to East New Britain businessman Eremas Wartoto. Tiensten had allegedly released the funding last year when he was national planning minister in the (former) Somare-Abal government.
Police fraud squad director Insp Timothy Gitua said Tiensten was charged with misappropriating K10 million, conspiracy to defraud the state and abuse of office.
The charges were read out to Tiensten before he was taken into custody.
Task Force Sweep leader Sam Koim confirmed Tiensten’s arrest, saying a formal media statement would be released when all matters had been formalised. 
Gitua said Tiensten had jetted into Port Moresby on a Qantas flight at 8.30am yesterday and was met at the Jackson International Airport by police and Sweep members.
The politician was then taken to the fraud squad headquarters at Konedobu for a formal interview.
The National was at the Boroko police station when Tiensten was brought there by police at about 3pm.
He was charged and locked up for 20 minutes before being released on a K5,000 police bail.
Gitua said Tiensten had evaded arrest since September. He had fled to Australia until his
arrest yesterday.
Gitua said Tiensten was the second suspect to be arrested and charged with the K10 million saga. The first was former acting national planning secretary Ruby Zariga.
Gitua said others who had been charged included Wartoto, who would be recalled for questioning.
Last Tuesday, Tiensten said from Australia that he would fight the allegations levelled against him in court.
“I have decided to return to fight the purported charges after all avenues for a fair hearing have been exhausted,” Tiensten said.
He refused to comment on his arrest yesterday.
He is expected to
appear before the Waigani Committal Court today.