5 Apr 2007

PNG's suspended Petroleum Minister found guilty of misconduct in office

1:52 pm on 5 April 2007

Papua New Guinea's suspended Petroleum and Energy Minister, Sir Moi Avei, has been found guilty of misconduct in office by the Leadership Tribunal.

The tribunal's decision was unanimous and referred to Sir Moi's electorate funds of 250,000 kina, or nearly 90,000 U.S. dollars, which was unable to be accounted for, as well as his inability to pay rental costs on a property.

The former deputy prime minister will not have to face criminal charges as the case is being conducted by the Leadership Tribunal.

Our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says the state will push for maximum penalties.

"The leadership tribunal has found him guilty on five of the nine charges so the next step now is for the counsels, representing the state as well as Sir Moi's lawyers to make submissions on a penalty that will be appropriate for the guilty charges."

Alex Rheeney says penalties could include a fine while the maximum penalty would be dismissal from office for 3 years.