16 May 2002

Watchdog in Papua New Guinea raises concerns over Leadership Tribunal loophole

4:50 pm on 16 May 2002

The PNG chapter of the watchdog group Transparency International says it is doing all it can to encourage the Government to close a loop hole in the Leadership Tribunal law, after seven MPs resigned from Parliament to avoid appearing before it.

TI director Mike Manning says it is clearly an attempt to escape the intent of the Code.

However he says the MPs, if re-elected next month could find the charges reinstated and they also face the prospect of police action.

"most of those leaders that have resigned recently to avoid having to present their case to the tribunal the public prosecutor has instructed the police to investigate whether or not there would be criminal charges that can be brought against them. So whilst they have actually slipped out of from the leadership code provisions, they are in fact subjecting themselves to a much greater jeopardy because the penalties under the leadership code would be much harsher."