7 Nov 2006

PNG government MP chides cabinet over Julian Moti escape

8:04 pm on 7 November 2006

A member of the main partner in the governing coalition in Papua New Guinea has criticised the government's handling of the Julian Moti affair.

The Post Courier reports that North Bougainville MP, James Togel, who is in prime minister Sir Michael Somare's national alliance, says he was very surprised that cabinet and Sir Michael had not demanded an immediate full explanation when it was learned an army plane had been used to fly Mr Moti to Solomon Islands.

He says the government's handling of the Moti case could damage the country's international credibility.

He says cabinet should have met immediately to ensure that the country was not dragged through the mud by a foreigner with dubious credentials and no commitment to PNG.

Mr Togel says PNG is quick to accuse Australia of not respecting sovereignty..

But he says in this case, with PNG government officials breaching sovereignty through corruption, the Government has dragged its feet over investigating them.

He says the prime minister needs to be careful that the lengthy delay could be interpreted by the people as complicity.