16 Jul 2007

PNG report says PM Somare should be charged over Moti escape

2:02 pm on 16 July 2007

A leaked Papua New Guinea report says the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, should be charged over the escape of wanted Australian lawyer Julian Moti, who was sworn as Solomon Islands attorney general last week.

A report following a of a PNG Defence Force inquiry concluded that it was Sir Michael who ordered that Mr Moti be flown out of PNG despite an Australian request to have him extradited to face child sex charges.

The inquiry, chaired by PNG Justice Gibbs Salika, found there was a very high level of collaboration and collusion between Sir Michael and the Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, over Mr Moti's escape.

The leaked report quotes a diplomatic note from the Solomons requesting cooperative intervention by PNG to provide Mr Moti safe passage to Solomon Islands and for the PNG government to direct the Public Prosecutor to withdraw court action.

It found that the entire Moti operation was illegal and breached PNG's Constitution.

Sir Michael has consistently denied sanctioning the clandestine PNG military flight.

He has sat on the Moti report since it was presented to him in March and is seeking to have it declared null and void in court.