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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Somare orders immediate investigations on how Moti escaped Papua New Guinea on PNGDF plane

By Isaac Nicholas

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has ordered a full investigation to ascertain who gave the instructions for a Defence Force aircraft to fly Julian Moti to the Solomon Islands.

Sir Michael, who arrived late yesterday from Alotau, Milne Bay province, placed his own Chief Secretary in charge of the investigation.

As the Prime Minister’s displeasure was made known, PNG government officials revealed last night that officials had misinterpreted the Prime Minister’s sentiments last week to effect the clandestine operation to transport Moti out of PNG’s territory. Sir Michael said last week that the Moti case was none of PNG’s affairs and threatened to investigate and discipline police officers involved in the arrest of the fugitive. He also stated that Moti should be allowed free passage to travel to the Solomon Islands.

A prime ministerial aide said yesterday that the lapse and misunderstanding was a major breach of national security. “Government has basically gone into damage control,” he said.

Sir Michael directed Chief Secretary Kalinoe to appoint an investigation team immediately to look into the issues relating to Moti’s case. The terms of reference for the investigation include:
* The circumstances in which Moti was arrested and detained;
* Whether the processes involved were consistent with PNG’s domestic laws on extradition;
* Whether the Solomon Islands government had formally requested PNG to assist in Moti’s safe passage to the Solomon Islands;
* Whether there was any consideration by the PNG Government on how to process the Moti case, including applying to the courts to review his judicial case; and
* To ascertain who gave the instructions for Moti’s transportation in a PNG Defence Force aircraft to the Solomon Islands.

Mr Kalinoe was concerned that the decision to transport Moti did not come from any competent authority.

It was also revealed that a Post Courier article which the Solomon Star Newspaper has quoted in its issue yesterday, had erroneously reported and identified Joseph Assaigo as the chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC), which gave a misleading perception on the role of the committee.

“The NSAC has never given any direction for the release of Moti. In fact, during its meeting on Sunday, it resolved to recommend to the National Security Council that the legal process should be allowed to continue so that Moti can clear himself before the PNG Government considers the request of both the Australian and Solomon Islands governments.”

Mr Assaigo is the director-general of the Office of Security Coordination and Assessment (OSCA) and not NSAC as previously reported.

Source: The PNG National

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