13 Dec 2010

PNG PM says charges against him reflect bias

2:51 pm on 13 December 2010

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, says charges being brought against him by the Ombudsman Commission may reflect bias by high ranking officials.

The National Court is due to decide today whether to refer Sir Michael to a leadership tribunal over misconduct in office charges.

Sir Michael has made plans to stand aside if this happens, but at the weekend he was also at pains to defend himself.

He has accused the media of lying about him, his family and the Ombudsman Commission charges.

Sir Michael says four years ago the Commission took issue with his failure to file some of his financial returns.

He says some were late and others incomplete, but he says this is an administrative matter, not a case of misappropriation and dishonesty.

Sir Michael says his lawyers are arguing the process by which the Commission has referred him is flawed and that's why he's challenging it.

The Prime Minister says he wouldn't erode the powers of these important offices, but he has a right to defend himself if faulty processes have been used, or there's been some bias in the decision making.