Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister has resigned following controversy over the size and spending of the country’s delegation to the King’s coronation.
Justin Tkatchenko said in a statement that he had “stood aside” after consulting with the Commonwealth country’s prime minister, James Marape.
“I want to make sure the recent events do not interfere with the official visits and summits we are going to have with all the world leaders in the coming weeks,” Mr Tkatchenko said, referring to a summit taking place in the country of Pacific Island nations on 22 May.
“I also want to ensure the truth of this matter is cleared and the misinformation and lies are corrected,” he added.
Local media had reported that the delegation of 30 people who attended the coronation had received a 50,000 kina (£11,240) allowance to cover hotels and airfares.
“Insane number of delegates for overseas trips, for so called meetings, yet no funds for basic human rights services,” wrote Esther Kila on the PNG Post Courier website.
Government spokesman Bill Toraso denied media reports the governor general’s office had spent three million kina (£659,200), but confirmed to the Reuters news agency that 10 of its staff had travelled to London, alongside 10 guests.
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Mr Tkatchenko’s daughter Savannah, who accompanied him in place of a spouse, had become a focal point of local anger at the perceived excesses of the country’s delegation after she posted on social media discussing luxury shopping before boarding a flight in Singapore.
Following criticism of her, Mr Tkatchenko told Australian TV that people attacking his daughter were “primitive animals”.
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Mr Marape apologised to Mr Tkatchenko’s family for what he called “the traumatic experience over the last couple of days”.
“No woman deserves to be treated the way Savannah was treated over the last few days,” he said.