3 Oct 2007

PNG speaker urged to reverse ban on debate of Moti affair

2:44 pm on 3 October 2007

The Speaker of the Papua New Guinea Parliament is being called on to ensure important national issues can be debated after the Speaker blocked discussion on the Julian Moti affair.

A Defence Force inquiry into the flight of Mr Moti from PNG aboard a military aircraft had implicated Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who has unsuccessfully tried to get a judicial review into its findings.

Yesterday, the Speaker, Jeffrey Nape, blocked attempts by the Opposition to raise questions over the inquiry, saying the matter was either still before the courts or the Defence Council.

The Opposition says the Speaker is acting disgracefully in gagging debate on an important issue.

The secretary of Transparency International PNG, Richard Kassman, says while it is unclear whether Sir Michael has appealed, it is important that matters such as the Moti affair are discussed in Parliament.

"So Transparency International calls on the Speaker to be very careful about his position and to ensure that Parliament, being the supreme body in our country, is allowed to debate on issues impacting on our country."

Richard Kassman