29 Jan 2007

Solomons government blocks PNG Moti inquiry team from visiting Honiara

6:08 am on 29 January 2007

The Solomon Islands government has blocked a Papua New Guinea Defence Force inquiry team from visiting Honiara to investigate the escape of wanted Australian lawyer, Julian Moti.

On a visit to Port Moresby this weekend, the Solomon's Foreign Minister, Patteson Oti, conveyed the decision to the PNG government, saying the proposed visit was inappropriate.

The board of inquiry, headed by Justice Gibbs Salika, planned to fly to Honiara today to further investigate Mr Moti's escape from Port Moresby on a PNG military flight to the Solomons in October.

The Australian Associated Press says Canberra was angered that PNG's military facilitated Mr Moti's escape when the Australian authorities were seeking to extradite him to face child sex charges.

Patteson Oti told PNG's Foreign Minister, Paul Tiensten, that the board of inquiry's jurisdiction did not extend to the Solomons and it was an internal matter for PNG.