17 Nov 2006

PNG government chief secretary reinstated

9:46 am on 17 November 2006

The chief secretary to the Papua New Guinea government has been reinstated after being suspended over his alleged role in the escape of Australian fugitive Julian Moti.

PNG's National Court yesterday ruled that proper procedures were not followed in the lead-up to Chief Secretary Joshua Kalinoe's suspension, which was confirmed on Wednesday by the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.

The court has granted an injunction against Kalinoe's suspension order and adjourned the case until November 23.

In the meantime, Kalinoe can continue in his job.

Mr Kalinoe was suspended along with those of Defence Force Commander Peter Ilau and acting Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga.

Sir Michael said the men had been stood aside so that the investigation into Julian Moti's clandestine escape from PNG to the Solomon Islands - aboard a PNG military plane - could proceed unobstructed.

The suspensions of three such senior officers was welcomed by Australia as a move that may help restore full diplomatic relations between the two countries.