16 Feb 2007

PNG PM Somare to testify in Moti escape probe

3:14 pm on 16 February 2007

The Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has been summoned to testify in the Julian Moti affair.

The PNG defence force board of inquiry has issued the order in a bid to determine who authorised the escape of Mr Moti to Solomon Islands while he was wanted by Australia on child sex charges.

The former chief of the national security advisory council, Joseph Assaigo, has made a sworn statement in court, saying Sir Michael ordered him to get Mr Moti out of the country.

Sir Michael has denied the claim but our Port Moresby correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says he is expected to testify.

"Sir Michael Somare has been summoned to appear before the PNG board of inquiry next week. The summons was issued"

yesterday but it is not expected to be served on him by military police until he flies back to Port Moresby on Sunday or Monday from Wewak.

Alex Rheeney