Former minister denies abuse of process

A FORMER Papua New Guinea government minister has denied that he abused process in granting a fugitive citizenship.

An Ombudsman Commission report about the granting of citizenship for an Indonesian man, Djoko Tjandra, in 2012 has been tabled in Parliament.

The report found that Ano Pala, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Citizenship at the time, abused the process in granting citizenship to Mr Tjandra.

Indonesian authorities wanted Mr Tjandra for questioning over a corruption case.

Yet Mr Pala said he had never received an extradition request from Jakarta.

“Minister’s role is to make the decision and not be the process,” he said.

“The process goes through the departmental machinery and all those procedures were followed and as a person who believes in the systems of government under the laws, I allow that process to take place.”

Mr Pala said he was never aware of a formal extradition request.

“There is an extradition treaty between our two countries and it was never requested for me at the time and even today that fugitive request had not been made public not in the government, nothing came up.”

Mr Pala, who is no longer an MP, says his province, Central Province, was eyed up for investment in a rice project by Mr Tjandra.