23 Oct 2006

PNG suspends officers over Moti escape

5:20 pm on 23 October 2006

The Papua New Guinea defence minister has suspended three high ranking officers over their role in allegedly aiding the suspended Solomons attorney general, Julian Moti, escape to Solomon Island on a PNG military aircraft.

Mr Moti is wanted in Australia on a child sex charge.

Media reports say the suspended officers are the chief of staff, Captain Tom Ur, and the two pilots involved in the night flight to Munda in Solomon Islands.

The defence force commander, Commodore Peter Ilau, says an investigation is under way that is to be completed by the end of the week.

It follows separate probes by the government and the Ombudsman's Commission.

A top official in the PNG prime minister's department was suspended last week in connection with the Moti case.

The probe is to determine and expose the amount of money involved and the people who made the payments.

Meanwhile, the military commander has been found guilty of contempt of court and faces imprisonment if he does not comply with two new court orders by this afternoon.

The orders were issued last Friday at the National Court in Waigani by Justice Kubulan Los in relation to a contempt of court issue that arose from previous court orders that he did not comply with to reinstate and pay some ex-servicemen their entitlements.