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PNG's NEC TO BE INVOLVED IN GRANTING CITIZENSHIP

Staff Reporter 2/09/2013 | |
PNG Prime Minister: Peter O'neill
The Government is considering new laws for the National Executive Council to be involved in the process of granting citizenship in the country.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neil made this known in Parliament on Friday, when responding to questions by Northern Governor, Gary Juffa, about the awarding of P-N-G citizenship to Indonesian fugitive tycoon and now P-N-G citizen Djoko Tjandra.

Tjandra, who is now known as Joe Chan, was granted citizenship under controversial circumstances.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Rimbink Pato, cancelled Chan's passport a fortnight ago, while an investigation by the Attorney General's Department into the awarding of Chan's citizenship has been completed, and will go before Cabinet.

Mr. O'Neil told Parliament that Chan is a P-N-G citizen and will be given his rights under the law, in the process to revoke his citizenship, in the courts.

The Prime Minister also says, investigations will be carried out into officers who granted Chan the citizenship to punish them if they are found to have broken the law.

Given the public knowledge and debate over the awarding of citizenship to Chan, Mr. O'Neill says there is a need for Cabinet's involvement in the process:

"We are now trying to change the law rather than the citizenship committee screening the applications and then recommending to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration for him to agree to the citizenship awarding, we are saying that recommendation should come through the minister through to cabinet almost 30 or some of us can sit down and screen that person again and then we can then all know that it's open above and very transparent," Prime Minister O'Neil said.

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