1 Mar 2011

PNG call for PM to stand down as leadership tribunal formed

2:29 pm on 1 March 2011

Papua New Guinea's Institute of National Affairs has called on prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, to stand down now a leadership tribunal has been established to look into allegations of financial irregularities.

The tribunal will investigate alleged improprieties regarding Sir Michael's listing of financial statements, dating back nearly 20 years.

Sir Michael stood aside briefly last year but following the setting up of the tribunal last week has continued to hold the reins of power.

The Institute's executive director, Paul Barker, says the expectation had been that Sir Michael would have stood aside in compliance with leadership tribunal rules.

"Now that the tribunal has been appointed, really it does behove upon the prime minister to stand aside to re-appoint his selected acting prime minister and to allow the tribunal to perform its functions effectively without duress. I think that would be the best thing for the country, it would be the best thing for his own reputation as well."