By: Parliament Team
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato, says he was not aware of the controversial flight that arrived under mysterious circumstances in Papua New Guinea last month.
Onboard that private jet flight were the Saken brothers, one of whom owns a yacht that's been impounded in Vanuatu for its alleged ties with drug trafficking plus lack of proper documents.
Mr Pato told Parliament during Question Time this morning, he was on his way back from attending a renewable energy conference in the Middle East, and got on the same flight in Brisbane with Vanuatu's Foreign Minister, Alfred Carlot.
"As a colleague and a friend, I had ask assistance to come through customs and provided him transport to go to wherever he wants to go.
"And at that point, I wasn't aware that he had any arrangements to travel to Papua New Guinea.
"There was obviously no notice given to me that he was visiting our country and that was it.
"And that there is nothing more that I can say.
"I was not aware of the flight that had landed in PNG, in what you say are mysterious circumstances," Minister Pato said.
Mr Pato says he was later briefed there was a diplomatic note from Brussels.
But he says, relevant authorities were notified of the flight, and there was no improper conduct on part of PNG officials.
Mr Pato says Minister for State Enterprises, Ben Micah, was never at the airport either.
He was responding to questions by Rabaul MP, Dr Allan Marat