Infrastructure boss’s Edgewater dinner spending was ‘oversight’

Tuesday October 15, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Diane Charlie-Puna. 19092534 Diane Charlie-Puna. 19092534

Infrastructure Secretary Diane Charlie-Puna has been allowed to return to work after weeks of enforced leave.

 

Charlie-Puna was under investigation for allegedly charging her dining and room at the Edgewater Resort back to the taxpayer.

This came after Minister Robert Tapaitau’s office asked her to arrange a meeting to brief him on progress on major infrastructure projects. She booked the Edgewater.

After initially declining to comment, the minister eventually gave his backing to Charlie-Puna. He told Cook Islands News his office had asked for the meeting.

He asked for privacy for her young family, with regards to the Edgewater meeting.

Charlie-Puna had retained a lawyer and was preparing to fight the misspending allegation in court, if necessary.

But Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas has announced that he has completed his investigation, and is satisfied all matters related to the inquiry have now been addressed.

“An unintentional internal control oversight by Ms Diane Charlie-Puna in regards to an event at the Edgewater Resort through an extremely busy time for Infrastructure Cook Islands was the cause of this investigation,” Thomas said.

Charlie-Puna was allowed to resume her role and responsibilities, effective from Friday.

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