18 Jan 2007

Claims that PNG government will scrap Moti inquiry

7:03 pm on 18 January 2007

It's claimed the Papua New Guinea government's trying to scrap the defence board probe into the Julian Moti affair.

The Post Courier online reports that lawyers from the state solicitor and attorney generals offices are applying for a judicial review of the inquiry in the National Court tomorrow.

The website reports that they are acting on a request from the defence secretary, Frederick Punangi.

The inquiry is investigating the clandestine escape in October of the Australian lawyer from PNG to the Solomon islands on a military plane.

Mr Punangi has advised the defence minister Martin Aini to suspend the inquiry pending the judicial review.

He says he's taking legal action because the inquiry was overstepping its jurisdiction and delving into issues not relevant to the case.

The inquiry chairman Justice Gibbs Salika previously said the inquiry was closing in on those behind Mr Moti's escape.

The Post Courier says evidence presented at the inquiry alleges there was corruption within the army hierarchy and the department of defence.