14 Dec 2010

Somare steps aside as PNG PM

2:36 pm on 14 December 2010

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare stepped aside on Monday night after failing to obtain a court injunction to stop his expected referral to a leadership tribunal.

The chief justice will now be asked to set up a tribunal to consider Sir Michael's alleged failure to submit full income returns to the Ombudsman Commission, going back nearly 20 years.

Sir Michael has accused the media and public officials of bias but the executive director of the PNG Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, says most people in PNG have a different view.

"At some stage you can cry conspiracy in every direction and it becomes a little implausible. I mean frankly I think most people see this, if there was a bias, it maybe was in favour of the Prime Minister in that it's been such a long interval between failure, apparently, to submit annual returns to the Ombudsman Commission going back to the early nineties."

Paul Barker.

Sam Abal has now assumed the prime ministership.