30 Dec 2006

PNG government has reportedly disbanded board over inquiry into Julian Moti escape

10:27 am on 30 December 2006

The Papua New Guinea government is reported to have disbanded the current membership of the PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry into the clandestine escape of Australian lawyer Julian Moti.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that Government sources hesitantly confirmed that legal documents were rushed to Kokopo, East New Britain for the Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane to sign to effect the change.

Government sources told the Post-Courier the move to replace the current membership stems from recent findings by the board of inquiry.

It is understood that documents confirming Nellie James as Mining Secretary were also signed.

Inquiry officials, when contacted, said it was the first they had heard of the reported dumping of the board, but added they served at the discretion of the Government.

The inquiry, put off until next Wednesday, is into its third week and should run for eight weeks.

Chief Secretary Joshua Kalinoe is expected to re-appear before the inquiry after being excused earlier to seek legal advice on a question asked of him last week.

National Executive Council secretary, Winnie Kiap and Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare are also likely to be called when the inquiry resumes.