24 Nov 2006

PNG PM cancels further Moti probe

4:27 pm on 24 November 2006

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has contradicted his newly-appointed foreign minister by saying there will be no further inquiry into the Julian Moti affair.

Sir Michael says an already-completed investigation had resulted in disciplinary action being taken against senior departmental heads allegedly involved in Mr Moti's escape from PNG to Solomon Islands last month.

Mr Moti fled on a PNG military flight when Australia had asked for his extradition to face child sex charges.

In response, Canberra cancelled planned visits by Sir Michael and PNG's defence minister and also called off the two countries' annual ministerial forum.

Sir Michael has denied sanctioning Mr Moti's escape but has not released the report on his government's inquiry into Moti's escape.

His ruling out of any further inquiry directly contradicts new foreign minister Paul Tiensten's statement last weekend that a new inquiry would be held.