24 Jan 2007

PNGDF inquiry into Moti escape uncovers undocumented payments

11:15 am on 24 January 2007

The Defence Force Inquiry into the Julian Moti escape from Papua New Guinea has been told the aircraft used in the operation was hijacked by army officers who illegally occupied positions at the time.

The Post Courier reports that in his evidence to the inquiry, Operations Commander Geoffery Wiri said there were no written documents of the operation which was headed by the acting commander, Captain Tom Ur, and joint operations taskforce commander Colonel Vagi Oala who were illegally holding the positions.

Col Wiri said in the Moti case the joint taskforce commander was in a position which was never approved by the NEC.

Meanwhile, the inquiry has heard that documents for three controversial payments made by the Defence Department totalling more than 460 thousand US dollars have gone missing.

In its attempt to determine whether the secret operation to spirit Moti to the Solomon Islands was funded by the Department of Defence, the board uncovered the three unbudgeted payments and is questioning the procedures involved.