...Timothy Bonga likely to replace Pruaitch
By TERENI KENS
WHILE Papua New Guinea awaits the new cabinet announcement by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in a major reshuffle to be conducted soon as promised recently, there are indications that moves have already been made.
Member for Nawae and National Alliance Momase die hard Timothy Bonga is tipped to take on the Finance and Treasury ministry - the portfolio once held by the party's deputy leader from the Momase bloc, Patrick Pruiatch.
Reliable sources close to government say Mr Bonga was happy about the appointment but could not comment when contacted last night as it has not been officially announced.
It is not known whether Mr Pruiatch will be given another portfolio but in recent weeks serious allegations of misconduct in office laid against him by the Ombudsman Commission could have caused him his job. It is understood Prime Minister's son Arthur Somare is likely to take over the deputy leadership reigns for the NA Momase faction.
Similarly, the NA deputy leadership tussle and in-fighting in the New Guinea Islands recently has seen a major rift and calls to dump Minister Tiensten over allegations of misconduct in office by island leaders could have the Prime Minister's backing in order to uphold his commitment in fighting corruption in the country.
Bougainville regional MP Fidelis Semoso has been tipped to act on the ministry until such time a permanent appointment is made.
The re-elected Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye and deputy NA leader from the Highlands faction is hinted for the Deputy Prime Ministers post, while his counterpart from the Southern region Sir Puka Temu gets back to his Mining, Lands and Physical planning portfolio.
The move could see a split in the huge Works, Transport and Civil Aviation ministry. The Civil Aviation ministry is expected to merge with Tourism and Culture and would be administered by Minister Charles Abel who is tipped to remain.
Heads will also roll for several other non-performing ministers including Inter-government Relations Minister Job Pomat, Health Minister Sasa Zibe, Agriculture Minister John Hickey, Labour Minister Mark Maipakai, Police Minister Sani Rambi and speaker Jeffery Nape.
With all the chaos experienced within the NA led coalition government, the opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta has reportedly said they are intact and he is more than ready to change the government, but awaits the Supreme Court decision on the validity of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates before making a move.
Meanwhile, certain MPs from the Opposition have alleged an Asian mining giant has given a senior government minister huge sums of money (K40 million) to conduct what they termed as "under the table deal" in a bid to muster numbers on the government side.
The MPs said such huge monies should be put to go use rather then playing dirty politics and will be on alert to expose such corrupt practices when they are confronted.