3 Jan 2007

PNG government denies interfering with Moti inquiry

11:01 am on 3 January 2007

The Papua New Guinea government has denied allegations that it has tampered with the inquiry into the escape of Australian lawyer Julian Moti to the Solomon Islands.

The Acting Prime Minister Don Polye has denied a local media report that the Government tried to disband the inquiry probing the involvement in Australian lawyer Julian Moti's clandestine escape from PNG on October 10.

The Moti inquiry, which started several weeks ago by the Defence Force, aims to find out who was responsible for having Moti flown out of the country in a Defence Force aircraft.

However, the Post-Courier newspaper says it stands by its report last week.

It reported that evidence so far to the inquiry suggests that Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and then acting Defence Force Commander Captain Tom Ur were aware of the Moti operation.

Mr Polye says that the jurisdiction of the inquiry is with the Defence Minister and not the National Executive Council.