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PNG: Provincial Governor sues The National for Defamation

PORT MORESBY (PNG Post-Courier/Pacific Media Watch): Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru has given notice that he is suing The National newspaper in Papua New Guinea and his former administrator William Powi for defamation.

This stems from allegations in an article that appeared in The National on Friday.

Agiru said the statement was damaging to his personal character and integrity. He said his lawyers had advised him that there are sufficient grounds to institute a proceeding.

“The article was baseless and had no facts,” he said.

The article in part alleged that more than K40 million from the Southern Highlands provincial treasury had been abused within a period of three months.

Agiru is chairman of the provincial finance and planning division.

Agiru said this was stated despite denials by Provincial Treasurer Kevin Puruno.

“The statement was not only malicious but had malicious intent,” he said.

Agiru said the article had factual errors and queried the rationale behind allowing a story of this nature to appear in a national newspaper.

“Therefore, I have taken this action,” he said.

He said The National newspaper was the first respondent and William Powi the second respondent.

Both parties were given notice of the intention on the same day.

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Pacific Media WATCH is a media and educational resource compiled by the AUT Pacific Media Centre for the Pacific region.

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