By Fabian Hakalits – EMTV Port Moresby
Members of parliament have questioned why Indonesian fugitive, Djoko Tjandra, was granted citizenship in Papua New Guinea.
East Sepik Provincial Governor, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, wanted an explanation from the Foreign Affairs Minister, Rimbink Pato, as to why Tjandra was housed in Papua New Guinea when he has allegations to answer in his own country.
“Indonesian government question the criminal offence for 450 million kina was missing in their country and that this person’s name was mentioned. I want the Foreign Minister to be able to go back to five months to six months ago; there was a big write up, in Indonesia about the same person.
“And I want to know, what is going on. Minister keeps giving answers which are irrelevant. Let’s come up to points of facts and that facts are these. The guy is a fugitive person. He left the country to come here and we gave him the citizenship,” Somare’said.
“Plis Foren Minista, noken brukim bus. Plis toksave long Papua Niu Gini, bai Papua Niu Gini gat save,” (Please Foreign Minister, do not shortcut, inform Papua New Guinea about this matter).
Pato didn’t deliver a satisfying answer to Somare’s question but talked about the bilateral relations of PNG and Indonesia.
Minister Pato said PNG is a law-abiding nation.
“We are not karim bus or brukim bus. Yumi wok long traim long mekim rait disisen, for the best interest of the country,” (We are not carrying or doing any shortcuts. We are trying to make the right decisions).
“Taking into account security of our nation and that is to be paramount. And Indonesian relationship, I must repeat, is very important to us,” Pato said.
“And Indonesian Foreign Minister and myself that we speak to each other many times in a month. And that’shows how important the relationship between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as much as the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea,” Minister Pato told Parliament.
The opposition has criticised the national government for granting the citizenship.
Deputy Opposition Leader, Sam Basil, questioned why the PNG government facilitated the citizenship, and why Djoko Tjandra was issues a new name, Joe Chan.
“Foreign Affairs Minister never answered the question and Department if they had received a diplomatic note about this. Minister Pato must not hide this and we the opposition will push this issue,” Basil said.
Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, said that Papua New Guinea as a signatory to the Convention on Trans-National Crimes of the United Nation’s General Assembly, has failed to uphold its responsibility.
“According to my understanding, before citizenship can be granted, the committee must sit and then make recommendations. This is to see if the person is fit, meaning if he has passed the requiremen’s, which proves him or her. But I think that didn’t happen,” Juffa said.
Rabaul MP, Dr. Allan Marat, said that the government of Papua New Guinea has failed in its obligations to uphold its own legislations and also the UN Convention on trans-national crimes.