15 Mar 2011

PNG's Somare appears to cast blame on staff over failure to file statements

9:44 am on 15 March 2011

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea appears to be casting blame on his staff for his alleged failure to file financial statements.

A leadership tribunal has for the third day been hearing 25 allegations that Sir Michael Somare failed to complete or did not file financial statements from as far back as 20 years ago.

Yesterday the tribunal ruled that the Prime Minister could continue as the country's leader during the hearing.

Our correspondent, Jonathon Tannos, says Sir Michael also appeared in the witness box, and was asked to explain why some of his annual statements were incomplete or not submitted on time.

"Generally he's been saying that he would have filled out all the requirements in filling out the annual returns but it may have been his staff that never completed the process perhaps by formally submitting the annual returns to the Ombudsman Commission."

Jonathon Tannos says submissions challenging the ruling that the Prime Minister can remain in office during the tribunal could be heard as soon as today.