9 Dec 2010

PNG's Somare to face a leadership tribunal forcing him to stand down

10:00 am on 9 December 2010

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister , Sir Michael Somare , is to face a leadership tribunal for alleged misconduct in office, forcing him to stand down as the country's leader.

PNG's Public Prosecutor, Jim Wala Tamati, issued a press release stating his intention in three days' time to launch a tribunal.

He says he intends to make a request to the Chief Justice to appoint an appropriate Leadership Tribunal into allegations of Sir Michael's misconduct in office.

The tribunal relates to an Ombudsman Commission inquiry into alleged improprieties regarding his listing of financial statements.

Some of the allegations date back 20 years.

Sir Michael has been fighting the allegations in court since 2008, allegations that include he failed to lodge information about his assets, income and business connections, and that he filed late or incompletely.

Sir Michael must step down once referred to a leadership tribunal, which would mean the new deputy PM becomes the acting prime minister.