2 Mar 2007

Papua New Guinea PM blames sacked security chief for Moti flight to Solomons

10:43 am on 2 March 2007

Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has blamed his sacked national security chief for organising an escape flight to the Solomon Islands for wanted Australian lawyer Julian Moti.

Sir Michael told reporters yesterday that the former national security advisory council director-general, Joseph Assaigo, was a friend of Mr Moti and their families were connected through marriage.

The prime minister has consistently denied sanctioning the use of a PNG military plane to fly Mr Moti from Port Moresby to the Solomons on October 10th.

The flight enabled Mr Moti to evade arrest and extradition to Australia to face child sex charges.

Sir Michael has come under increasing public pressure over the way he handled the Moti affair, prompting the trade union congress to threaten a nationwide strike if he did not resign over the issue.