15 Mar 2011

PNG Somare tribunal now considering its decision

8:00 pm on 15 March 2011

A three-member tribunal hearing allegations of misconduct by Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has adjourned to consider its final decision.

The tribunal chairman Roger Gyles says they should have a decision late this week or next week.

The fourth day of the leadership tribunal in Port Moresby heard closing submissions from both sides relating to 25 allegations that Sir Michael failed to lodge his financial records as far back as 20 years ago.

The prime minister had told the court on Monday that he'd lodged his returns every year and suggested staff might have lost some records that were missing from the Ombudsman Commission.

But the commissioner who initiated the original investigation alleged that Sir Michael had failed to lodge or did not lodge complete forms or did so late and thus breached his responsibility as a leader.

On Monday, the tribunal decided it wouldn't suspend Sir Michael as prime minister for the duration of the trial.