1 Mar 2007

PNG strike call over Somare role in Moti affair

3:06 pm on 1 March 2007

Trade unions in Papua New Guinea are threatening to go on a nationwide strike if the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, does not resign over his handling of the Julian Moti affair.

They have condemned Sir Michael for triggering conflict between the executive, legislative and judicial

arms of government.

It comes after Sir Michael closed down an inquiry by the defence force into the flight of Mr Moti to Solomon Islands aboard a PNG military aircraft.

Sir Michael had been implicated in the clandestine flight.

At the weekend, he sacked his defence minister, Martin Aini, and has since launched legal action to have the entire proceedings of the inquiry declared null and void.

Sir Michael has also rejected the inquiry team's initial report and given it two weeks to prepare another.

The TUC secretary general, John Paska, says the prime minister's actions in disbanding the inquiry show contempt for the PNG judiciary.

The unions are to present two petitions today, one to the prime minister asking him to step down, and another to the Ombudsman Commission, urging it to investigate Sir Michael and his government's conduct.