27 Jun 2008

PNG PM referred to public prosecutor while his lawyers file appeal case

6:29 pm on 27 June 2008

Lawyers for Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister have appealed a court ruling earlier in the week rejecting a bid by Sir Michael Somare to halt an investigation into his personal finances.

Sir Michael went to the National Court in a bid to halt a probe by the Ombudsman's Commission into claims that over a number of years he failed to lodge financial returns as required by the Leadership Code.

However, our correspondent in PNG, Oseah Philemon, reports that since the bid was dismissed, Sir Michael has been referred to the public prosecutor.

"Before the Prime Minister's lawyers went to file an appeal in the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman Commission actually referred the Prime Minister to the Public Prosecutor for prosecution beore a leadership tribunal. But because he has now appealed, the Public Prosecutor will not do anything yet until the Supreme Court has dealt with the appeal. And because of the nature of the case, I u nderstand that the Chief Justice is going to expedite this matter very quickly."