27 Feb 2007

PNG Prime minister sacks Defence Minister over Moti inquiry

10:50 am on 27 February 2007

A report from Papua New Guinea says the country's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has sacked Defence Minister, Martin Aini for claiming that Sir Michael forced him to sign instruments dismissing the PNG Defence Force inquiry.

Yesterday, Mr Aini told RNZI that the Defence Force inquiry into the escape of Julian Moti was proceeding, and that he intended to act on its findings.

The board had earlier found that Sir Michael must have known about a clandestine flight which allowed Julian Moti, wanted on child sex charges in Australia, to leave PNG for the Solomons in October 2006.

Mr Aini said yesterday he was still determined to act.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm really determined to pursue the matter and act on the recommendations that are presented to it. Whatever the recommendations are I'll try my utmost best to implement (them), as duty call for."

Mr Aini said yesterday that he hoped to receive the inquiry's report as early as today.