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June 21, 2006
(Executive Council)

Premier requests resignation of Cabinet minister

Premier Danny Williams today announced that he has requested the resignation of one of his Cabinet ministers as a result of an audit of the financial records of the House of Assembly by the Auditor General of the province. The resignation was requested after the Auditor General expressed concern to the Speaker of the House of Assembly over financial issues. Ed Byrne, who served as the Minister of Natural Resources, will step aside as a minister of the Crown effective immediately. 

�I am not prepared to comment further on this matter, as I have referred it to the Department of Justice on the advice of the Auditor General,� said Premier Williams. �I immediately requested Mr. Byrne�s resignation until the matter is resolved, as I take our government�s obligation to be accountable and transparent very seriously.�

In 2000, the Internal Economy Commission (IEC) abolished the ability of the Auditor General to have access to the financial statements of the House of Assembly. In April 2004, the IEC reversed that position and agreed the Auditor General would be invited to audit the accounts of the House of Assembly. This position is consistent with the Williams� Government agenda of transparency and accountability.

Premier Williams said that John Ottenheimer, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, will serve as acting Minister of Natural Resources effective immediately.

Media contact: Elizabeth Matthews, (709) 729-3960, 351-1227,

2006 06 21                                                        6:15 p.m.


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