7 Feb 2012

PNG's rival PMs ordered to appear before the Supreme Court

11:40 am on 7 February 2012

The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea has ordered most of the major players involved in the recent political crisis to appear before the bench.

The court is expected to sit on Tuesday morning.

The move comes days after Prime Minister Peter O'Neill announced the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia was to be suspended pending an investigation into allegations he mismanaged court funds.

The court issued the order on Friday, hours after Mr O'Neill announced his government's second attempt to suspend Sir Salamo pending an investigation into his conduct by a tribunal of former judges.

The court responded to the suspension order by issuing a summons for Mr O'Neill, the deputy prime minister, Belden Namah, and political rival Sir Michael Somare and his appointees to various government positions.

Sir Salamo presided over the five-man bench that ruled in a 3-2 decision in mid-December that Sir Michael was the leader of the government, four months after the majority of parliament voted to dump him as prime minister and from parliament.

Tom Kulunga, Mr O'Neill's choice for police commissioner, and Fred Yakasa, Sir Michael's choice for the top police job, have also been ordered to appear.