25 Mar 2011

TI lauds process in suspending PNG PM

1:25 pm on 25 March 2011

A watchdog group in Papua New Guinea says the suspension of the Prime Minister on misconduct charges shows the law has taken its course.

A leadership tribunal handed down the two week suspension to Sir Michael Somare after finding him guilty of 13 charges of misconduct.

The charges relate to his failure to lodge financial returns from as far back as 20 years ago.

The chair of Transparency International PNG, Lawrence Stevens, says while there were many legal delays before the case was referred, it's pleasing there has been a result.

"It is very sad that the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea has received a sentence like this. There will be many people who say that it's insufficient and there will be others who feel he's been treated in an undignified manner. But overall most people are pleased to see that the law has been applied and that leaders are reminded that they do have responsibilities."

Lawrence Stevens says the tribunal does not seem to have established whether the Prime Minister's failure to file returns was deliberate or an inadvertent mistake.