PNG's ousted PM Somare compensated for removal

7:24 pm on 12 August 2015

Papua New Guinea's former Prime Minister has been paid 700,000 US dollars in compensation for what a Treasury report describes as his illegal removal from office.

Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare

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

In 2011, Sir Michael Somare was overthrown while he was in Singapore for extended medical treatment, when parliament declared his seat vacant and voted to appoint Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister.

That change was later ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, but the government wrote legislation to retrospectively render it legal, which led to a political impasse during which both men claimed to be in charge.

Four years later, the country's Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook lists that a two million kina payment has been made from Treasury funds as compensation to Sir Michael for losses that occurred during his illegal removal from office.

A spokesperson at Sir Michael's office says the deal was reached as part of an out-of-court settlement.

It's understood two further claims from Sir Michael are still pending.

One of the claims is for US$52 million in general damages for mental anguish and public humiliation; the other for $24 million in exemplary damages.