17 Jul 2009

PNG PM under fire for MSG decision and a minister's property interests

3:38 pm on 17 July 2009

Papua New Guinea's government has stifled parliamentary debate about the Prime Minister's decision to support Fiji's interim regime.

This follows an outcry from PNG's opposition and civil society after Sir Michael Somare returned from last week's Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders retreat in Vanuatu.

The opposition criticised Sir Michael and the MSG leaders for sending the wrong message to the region in supporting an illegal dictatorship.

The newspaper, The National, reports that the government used its superior numbers in parliament to gag debate on the issue as well as questions raised by the opposition over an Australian property purchase by Public Enterprises Minister, Arthur Somare.

Meanwhile, the Forest Minister, Belden Namah, was named by the Samoa Observer newspaper as the major buyer of prime properties in Apia, worth more than 1.5 million US dollars.

Mr Namah denied the claim.

Last night, the opposition said it would demand answers from Sir Michael on Mr Namah's property dealings in Samoa.