17 Nov 2014

Somare bid for damages seen as excessive

8:22 pm on 17 November 2014

A legal bid by Papua New Guinea's veteran leader Sir Michael Somare to seek damages for his removal as Prime Minister in 2011 has been described as excessive.

Sir Michael has filed a summons against Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and the State seeking damages of 78.5 million US dollars over his removal on August 2, 2011.

The removal of the longtime Prime Minister, after his seat was declared vacant due to his prolonged absense from parliament, was subsequently ruled as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

However parliament didn't reinstate Sir Michael.

His lawyer says that since filing the application for damages in March, Mr O'Neill and the State have not replied.

Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Paul Barker of PNG's Institute of National Affairs says the application seems to relate to a fuedal-type perspective of government.

"As though the leaders actually almost won their positions and own the proceeds of office, whereas quite clearly this is vastly in excess of what the official income and allowances would be for holding office during that time."

Paul Barker

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