4 Jul 2011

Cabinet ministers suspended in PNG until leadership tribunals sit

7:15 pm on 4 July 2011

Two senior cabinet ministers in Papua New Guinea have been suspended from office while facing separate leadership tribunals over misconduct charges.

The Minister of Public Enterprises Arthur Somare and the Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch have been temporarily stood down following a Supreme Court ruling last Friday that leaders due to face a leadership tribunal must be suspended.

After a five year delay the process of dealing with the charges against Mr Somare began on Monday.

No date has been set for Mr Pruaitch's hearing.

Our correspondent in PNG, Oseah Philemon says the Supreme Court was abiding by the constitution.

"Constitution says in relation to the suspension of leaders, and the Supreme Court clearly states that when a leader is in this kind of position, that he should step down either voluntarily, if not, then should be suspended from office while dealing with these particular issues before the leadership tribunal."

Oseah Philemon says the Ombudsmans' Commission and the Public Prosecutor's Office are expected to inform both MPs of the Supreme Court judgement in writing.