BRIEFLY

Theft probe

launched

TARAWA – The police in Kiribati have launched an investigation into the theft of more than $US1.1million ($F2.09m) through what the government is calling cyber crime. The Minister of Commerce, Pinto Katia, has told parliament the missing money had been stolen and there was nothing they could do to avoid such theft as it involved highly sophisticated skills. The Kiribati Independent reported that the money related to the wiring of money to an overseas account to purchase a landing craft for the Line and Phoenix islands. Earlier the government claimed the money was wired to their supplier in the Philippines but they were informed that the money had been transferred to the wrong account.

Construction

work stopped

PORT MORESBY – The Manus provincial government in Papua New Guinea has stopped the construction of new facilities for asylum seekers and is threatening to close the existing detention centre, ABC News reports. Local leaders are demanding that Australia renegotiate its assistance package to Manus Island and the rest of Papua New Guinea, which is worth about $A1billion ($F1.69b). Political leaders and about 50 supporters arrived at the Australian-run regional processing centre in a convoy of 15 vehicles to make their demands known.

Parliamentary seats to go

APIA – Samoa’s Opposition Leader Palusalue Faapo has suggested the abolition of the two individual seats in Parliament by 2021. “The seats will eventually be abolished and it is only a matter of time before it happens,” Mr Faapo told Talamua Online. Mr Faapo was speaking on the complication of what the MPs representing the individual voters Papali’i Niko Lee Hang and Maualaivao Pat Ah Him wanted to do. Both MPs want to draw boundaries at Vaimauga and Faleata to specify the urban district recently established for the individual voters.

Bank to be

upgraded

PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea Government intends to upscale the People’s Micro-Bank (PMB) to a fully fledged commercial bank in 2016. This is because the government is firmly committed to its resolve in bringing banking services to the bulk of the population, two million of whom to date remain unbanked. Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Richard Maru made the announcement while delivering out K9million ($F6.93m)for the roll-out of three branches of the People’s Micro-bank in Tari — Southern Highlands, Arawa — Autonomous Region of Bougainville and Aitape — Sandaun provinces, respectively.