7 Nov 2006

Former PNG military leader angry officers involved in Moti flight reinstated

8:02 pm on 7 November 2006

A former Papua New Guinea defence force commander, General Jerry Singirok, says it was premature to reinstate three senior officers suspended as a result of the Julian Moti case.

Mr Moti, who had been sought by Australian authorities on child sex allegations, was spirited out of PNG to Solomon Islands in a clandestine flight in a PNG military aircraft.

The National newspaper says the three, chief of staff Captain Tom Ur, Colonel Vagi Oala and Lieutenant Colonel Ron Hosea, were reinstated last Tuesday, but a report on their conduct in the affair has not been made public.

General Singirok says the reinstatement contravenes the Defence Act.

He says this has been further complicated by the ombudsman commission and other government agencies continuing their own inquiries.

General Singirok says armed PNG soldiers had landed in another sovereign country, which he says under international law is considered as an act of invasion.

He says it is suspicious and makes no sense for the commander to reinstate the officers without informing the public of the outcome of their investigation and without any disciplinary action being taken.