22 Feb 2011

PNG tribunal to decide Somare's standing ahead of hearing

8:08 pm on 22 February 2011

A newly-established leadership tribunal in Papua New Guinea will decide whether the Prime Minister will step down while it hears allegations of misconduct against him.

The tribunal wil be charged by former Australian Federal Court judge Roger Gyles and will include New Zealander Sir Bruce Robertson and Sir Michael Robin Auld from the United Kingdom.

PNG's Chief Justice Sir Salamo Inja says the high profile case into allegations Sir Michael failed to lodge financial statements as far back as 20 years will start on March the 10th.

Todagia Kelola from the Post Courier newspaper says leaders have previously been automatically been suspended from office once the Chief Justice sets up a tribunal to hear charges against him.

But he says different rules may apply for the Prime Minister.

"There is other provisions in the constitution that provides for that. I think it's Section 1426 of the constitution, which basically says that the tribunal will determine whether he's going to be suspended or whether he shall remain as Prime Minister while the tribunal progresses."

Todagia Kelola