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Friday, January 12, 2007

PNG Inquiry informed of an extra civilian passenger in the Moti secret flight to Solomons

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force Board of Inquiry was yesterday informed of an unexpected extra civilian passenger onboard the Clandestine CASA secret flight that spirited fugitive lawyer Julian Moti to Munda, Solomon Islands on October 10 last year.

This now makes the total number of passengers onboard that flight to become nine in contrary to earlier statements indicating only eight. Earlier sworn statements released by witnesses revealed that only eight passengers were onboard the flight which consisted of five PNG military personnels and Moti with his two Solomon colleagues.

However two soldiers, load master Arua Ikupu and engineer Wais Morap, who were on that CASA flight delivering Moti and two other passengers to the Solomon Islands yesterday changed their earlier sworn statements and admitted that there was an extra PNG male civilian passenger who was on that flight that returned from Munda with the five other military personnel.

Lance Corporal Ikupu said he had originally thought that all the civilian passengers (Julian Moti and his two colleagues) were being delivered to the Solomon Islands but realised that one man still remained on the CASA when it returned to PNG, making the total number on that return leg from Munda, to six passengers – five men in uniform and one man in civilian clothes. That was after Moti and two other passengers had been off-loaded from the CASA at Munda.

Corporal Ikupu added that when he asked the male civilian passenger about his details, he told Ikupu that he was "Assaigo's son". Mr. Joseph Assaigo is the Director General of the Office of the Security Coordination and Assessments (OSCA). However, the inquiry was later told that Joseph Assaigo does not have a son. The interesting thing is that even the military personnels that handled the flight were unaware of the presence of that so-called "Assaigo's son" and only realised his presence on their return leg from Munda. Therefore, one can only wonder who that mysterious civilian passenger is, as the inquiry is now authorised to be open to media and public by the respective Minister.

Source: PNG National

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