Contempt charge laid against PNG PM

4:42 pm on 14 October 2016

Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill, the foreign and immigration Minister Rimbink Pato and the Chief Immigrations Officer Mataio Rabura have been slapped with a contempt charge.

The charge follows the government's announcement that it plans to close one asylum facility on Manus Island and keep another open for processing Canberra's asylum seekers.

The one that is to be kept open is the East Lorengau transit centre and the one to be closed is the Lombrum Naval Base regional processing centre, both funded by the Australian government.

Lawyer Ben Lomai confirmed that he had filed a contempt of court proceeding against the trio at the Waigani National Court registry.

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Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta

Mr Lomai, who represents the asylum seekers, said the trio were in serious breach of a Supreme Court ruling handed down in April.

The ruling declared the detaining of asylum seekers on Manus unconstitutional because it breached their rights under the Constitution.

Mr Lomai said the ruling in effect deems the detaining of the asylum seekers anywhere in the country illegal.

A date for hearing on the contempt charges is yet to be set.