The parliamentary committee investigating the May anti-Asian riots throughout PNG is in turmoil following the government’s sacking of its chairman, Jamie Maxtone-Graham, and the resignation of three members – including a vice-minister - in sympathy.
Mr Maxtone-Graham has revealed he was sacked just before his committee exposed the involvement of some politicians in questionable activities with certain people of Asian origin.
He warned of a “time bomb’’ that would explode unless the government immediately took positive action to defuse increasing anti-Asian sentiments.
It wasn’t the first time the PNG government had put the dampener on a parliamentary inquiry whose activities it found discomfiting.
Transparency International reported last week on the dismal fate of the Commission of Inquiry on the Department of Finance [see PNG Attitude here]
Vice Minister for the Public Service, Anthony Nene MP, said committee members had tried to carry out their task without funding and without government cooperation but the decision to remove Mr Maxtone-Graham was a big setback for the country.
Mr Nene said his decision to resign was final because “I have seen a lot of stinky things happening and I cannot continue”.
Meanwhile, parliament has taken delivery of 109 plasma television sets (“as big as a dining table and worth more than K20,000 each”, said one observer) that will be installed in the offices of MPs.