11 Nov 2003

PNG Attorney General threatens legal action over his suspension

5:08 pm on 11 November 2003

Papua New Guinea's attorney-general, Francis Damem, who has been suspended by the justice minister, Mark Maipakai, is considering legal action against the minister.

The minister had suspended the attorney general for publicly criticisng the Bougainville second draft constitution during an interview with Radio Australia.

Mr Damem described the document as containing a number of defects and anomalies that would have to be addressed.

His comments upset many MPs including the Minister of Bougainville Affairs, Sir Peter Barter, who said Attorney General had no right to comment.

Sir Peter also accused Mr Damem of acting outside his brief by querying some of the actions of the National Parliament in amending the PNG constitution to allow for Bougainville's autonomy.

Mr Maipakai says the attorney general had no authority to make any statement about Bougainville as any media statement on that matter remained the business of the bi-partisan committee, the Cabinet and the parliament.

Mr Maipakai says the state solicitor is the acting attorney general.