9 Mar 2011

Somare leadership tribunal in PNG could be put on hold

7:32 pm on 9 March 2011

There're expectations in Papua New Guinea a leadership tribunal due to convene tomorrow to hear allegations of misconduct against prime minister Sir Michael Somare will be adjourned.

The tribunal is being set up to investigate allegations that Sir Michael failed to submit full income returns to the Ombudsman Commission, going back nearly 20 years.

An application by Sir Michael's lawyers has contested the Commission's procedures and their reference is now to be heard on Monday next week.

Our correspondent Jonathan Tannos says this could cause the judges to follow the precedent set after former cabinet minister Patrick Pruaitch was referred to the tribunal a year ago.

"Pruaitch is the suspended minister for finance and treasury and the same thing happened when he was to face the tribunal. His lawyers filed a Supreme Court reference basically challenging the Ombudsman Commission's procedures."

Jonathan Tannos in Port Moresby.

The Patrick Pruaitch tribunal is still to sit.