PNG Moves To Cancel Djoko Tjandra’s Passport
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 24, 2013) – Papua New Guinea’s government has started the process to cancel the passport issued to Djoko Tjandra, according to an unsigned media statement on the Chief Secretary’s letterhead released late yesterday afternoon.
The statement confirmed that Mr. Tjandra changed his name in the PNG passport to "Joe Chan" and that the department of Justice and Attorney-General has started an investigation into the circumstances of the issuance of the passport.
Chief Secretary to Government Manasupe Zurenuoc wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato yesterday, advising that Mr. Tjandra’s passport can be cancelled under law, according to an unsigned media statement under the Chief Secretary’s letterhead released late yesterday afternoon.
The unsigned press statement said: "Mr. Tjandra obtained his PNG passport under controversial circumstances. The issuance of the passport is now the subject of an investigation by the department of Justice and Attorney-General.
"Tjandra recently changed his passport name to Joe Chan. The government learnt that after securing the name change, Tjandra obtained visas to Taiwan and Japan.
"Mr. Tjandra is currently wanted by Indonesian authorities and has an outstanding arrest warrant issued in Indonesia. The issuing of a passport under a different name allows Mr. Tjandra totravel freely and evaded the Indonesian authorities," Mr. Zurenuoc said in his letter to Minister Pato.
The Chief Secretary said the behavior of Mr. Tjandra was likely to create a security risk for PNG. He said under the Passports Act 1982 section 12, the Minister has the power to cancel a passport where he is satisfied that:
"The person (in this case Mr. Djoko Tjandra/Joe Chan is the subject of a warrant of arrest issued under the Arrest Act 1997 or any other law; and "The person has engaged in activities that have caused or are likely to cause serious damage to the security of PNG.
"Clear grounds exist for the passport issued to Tjandra/Chan to be cancelled, notwithstanding the outcome of the investigation by department of Justice and Attorney General," Zurenuoc said.
The Chief Secretary advised Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday on the process to cancel the passport.
Commenting on the matter at about 8:20pm last night, Mr. O’Neill said: "I am pleased that the government agencies are acting decisively now on an issue that they should have acted promptly on when it arose."
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