21 Nov 2006

PNG PM passing the blame on Moti affair, says opposition leader

8:11 pm on 21 November 2006

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader Peter O'Neill says the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare is passing the blame for the country's involvement in the Julian Moti saga.

Mr O'Neill says innocent civil servants are being made scape goats for the clandestine escape of the fugitive aboard a PNG military plane last month.

The suspended Defence Force head, Commodore Peter Ilau, is one of three high level suspensions made by the government so that the Ombudsman's investigation into the Moti escape from can proceed unobstructed.

But Mr O'Neill says the government has the Defence Force report of the incident and needs to come clean to the nation about what went on in the Moti saga.

"The preliminary report has not been made public but we gather from the news reports that the Prime Minister's office was responsible for authorising the plane to deliver Mr Moti to Solomon Islands, so I don't believe the Defence Force Commander is directly responsible for giving that order."

Peter O'Neill