26 Mar 2011

Lawyer for PNG's PM welcomes sentence given to Somare

10:18 am on 26 March 2011

The legal counsel for Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says Sir Michael Somare is satisfied with the two week suspension handed down to him by a leadership tribunal.

The Prime Minister received the sentence after the tribunal found him guilty of 13 charges of misconduct, relating to his failure to lodge financial returns from as far back as 20 years ago.

His legal counsel Kerenga Kua says the guilty findings do not amount to proof of corruption by Sir Michael, as more serious charges that he had demeaned public office were dismissed.

He says the Prime Minister will not challenge the suspension, and is taking it in his stride.

"He's relieved that it's finally come to the end of the road and a final decision has been made and he's quite satisfied with the penalty that's been meted out by the tribunal. He thinks it's a reasonable one, all things considered."

Kerenga Kua says it would be difficult for everyone to agree on the severity of the penalty, but Sir Michael was only found guilty of failing to fulfil the administrative requirement of submitting forms to the Ombudsman Commission.