25 Mar 2011

PNG opposition says Somare verdict devalues leadership code

4:02 pm on 25 March 2011

The opposition in Papua New Guinea says the two-week suspension given to the Prime Minister sets a precedent for other leaders to hide their incomes.

A leadership tribunal gave the sentence to Sir Michael Somare after finding him guilty of 13 charges of misconduct, relating to his failure to lodge financial returns from as far back as 20 years ago.

The deputy opposition leader, Bart Philemon, says furnishing returns ensures the transparency and accountability of leaders, and the punishment for failing to do so should have been more severe.

"Two week slap in the wrist opens the door for any other leaders, ministers and leaders that come under the leadership code, will use this opportunity now to you know, I mean the leadership code now means really nothing any more."

Bart Philemon says the Prime Minister must be squeaky clean as he is the leader of other leaders.