9 Mar 2011

Somare lawyer want to stop PNG leadership tribunal

4:07 pm on 9 March 2011

Lawyers for the Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, are battling to stop a leadership tribunal from convening tomorrow to hear allegations of misconduct against him.

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.

But Sir Michael's lawyers have filed an application to stop the tribunal sitting.

Our correspondent Jonathan Tannos says they're contesting the legality of the actions by the Ombudsman Commission.

"It concerns the procedure in which the Ombudsman Commission went about in its referral of him in the process into eventually setting up a leadership tribunal to hear the alleged misconduct in office charges. Ironically at three p.m. this afternoon the government house here is set to swear in the three judges that were appointed on the leadership tribunal for the Somare case."

Jonathan Tannos says some in the PNG community will be appalled by the prime minister's actions, which they see as an attempt by Sir Michael to distance himself from the law.