Marape moves quickly on payments to law firm

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Finance Minister James Marape’said payments tothe law firm from December last year were made in defiance of his orders.

However, certain officers withinthe Finance Department includingthe deputy Secretary defliedthese instructions to proceed with ther paymentsthereafter.

The deputy secretary is now suspended.

Minister Marape’said he met withthe principle lawyer ofthe said law firm last year and asked him to provide invoices tothe department for the different claims he made.

However, Marape is frustrated thatthe principal instead collaborated with officers in his department and received some payments. 

He said it is a matter for the investigating team to verify.

Secretary Steven Gibson has voluntarily step aside while investigations begin and Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc will be acting in this role.

Mr Zurenuoc met withthe senior staff of Finance yesterday and askedthem to cooperate inthe investigations.

Certain powers bestowed to Deputy Secretaries withinthe department have also been removerd and will now be withthe Secretary.

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