6 Sep 2011

Somare's 1.7 million US dollar medical bill footed by PNG taxpayer

7:02 am on 6 September 2011

The medical bill for the treatment of Papua New Guinea's ousted prime minister Sir Michael Somare is thought to be about 1.7 million US dollars.

Sir Michael's just returned to PNG after a five month stay in a Singapore hospital, during which he received heart and other surgery.

The legality of his replacement as prime minister a month ago due to prolonged absence from parliament is being challenged in court and he's announced his intention to complete his term.

Our PNG correspondent, Jonathan Tannos, says all MPs have access to medical insurance but how far this will go in Sir Michael's case isn't clear.

"The state has so far footed the bill I guess on authorisation by the National Executive Council and also that when he went across for medical treatment in Singapore he went across as prime minister."

Jonathan Tannos says details of the bill haven't been released yet.

Sir Michael will attend parliament this afternoon in order to retain his seat.