PNG prosecutor seeks tribunal to hear MP allegations

9:19 pm on 18 March 2015

Papua New Guinea's Public Prosecutor has written to the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal to enquire into allegations of misconduct against Imbonggu MP and Works Minister Francis Awesa.

A view of the government benches in Papua New Guinea's parliament.

A view of the government benches in Papua New Guinea's parliament. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Mr Awesa was referred to the office of the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission last November on allegations of misconduct in office.

The Post Courier reports the Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin as saying he was satisfied that there was sufficient credible evidence against Mr Awesa for the appointment of a leadership tribunal to hear the allegations.

The MP is alleged to have unlawfully engrossed a public easement for personal use and in the process denied the public right of access to the easement.

Mr Awesa is among a list of at least eight current MPs to have been referred by the Ombudsman Commission to the Public Prosecutor on allegations of misconduct in the past year.

They include Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, Tourism Minister and North Fly MP Boka Kondra, Community Development Minister and Sohe MP Delilah Gore, Manus MP Ronny Knight, Kagua-Erave MP James Lagea, Public Enterprise Minister and Kavieng MP Ben Micah, Public Service Minister and Abau MP Sir Puka Temu.

Bomana Correctional Facility, Papua New Guinea

Bomana Correctional Facility, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Meanwhile, the Bogia MP John Hickey has refuted reports that he did not appear on Monday at the Waigani Committal Court.

The police fraud squad charged Mr Hickey with three counts of official corruption, abuse of office and misappropriation involving over 260,000 US dollars.

However Mr Hickey says that he and his lawyer were present at the Waigani Committal Court on Monday waiting for mention and later the case was adjourned because it was not listed.

Currently, there are three MPs in jail in Bomana maximum security facility after being convicted on corruption-related charges.

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