20 Feb 2012

Another adjournment in PNG Supreme Court hearing into legitimacy of rival governments

8:19 pm on 20 February 2012

Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court has further adjourned its hearing to determine the country's legitimate government.

It is the third adjournment in as many weeks, with NBC News reporting the move is because some parties were not ready to make submissions.

The court is to consider a special reference questioning whether Sir Michael Somare or Peter O'Neill is legitimately the country's prime minister.

Today lawyers for 19 parties wishing to join in the reference had asked for more time to prepare.

Most of the 19 parties are people who were either appointed or dismissed by either the Somare or O'Neill factions.

The court has adjourned to next Monday, for its directions on filing and the serving of applications by the parties to be complied with.

Meanwhile, a group from Sir Michael's home province, East Sepik, calling itself the Sepik Council of Chiefs, has accused the Peter O'Neill government of conducting a witch-hunt against Sepik leaders.

This comes after what Sir Michael called a heavily armed police squad burst unannounced into the East Sepik offices in Wewak last week as part of its investigation into corruption.