20 Jun 2014

PNG PM should step aside, says Somare

3:42 pm on 20 June 2014

Papua New Guinea's former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says the current leader Peter O'Neill should step aside to allow the legal case around his alleged role in a corruption case to take its course.

A stay has been put on an arrest warrant served on Mr O'Neill on Monday over his alleged role in illegal payments to a law firm.

Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

However Mr O'Neill refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the investigation from which his arrest warrant stemmed, an extensive probe by PNG's anti-corruption unit Taskforce Sweep.

Sir Michael says that he and other former Prime Ministers who have had to face the law while in the role, have stepped aside or stood down.

"Similar goes to anyone who is the leader now. Prime Minister O'Neill should adhere to the law. He is the Prime Minister, he holds the highest office in the land. Now questions are over his head. He should clear those questions before he comes back to the office."

Sir Michael Somare