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Friday, August 03, 2007

Secret Inquiry Report on the Julian Moti escape from PNG says "charge Somare"

By Michael McKenna

A leading premier newspaper in Australia, "The Australian" has published a 117 page secret report that recommends PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare face charges over the Moti escape from Port Moresby to Munda in the Solomon Islands late last year. Click here to read the detailed Report

In response, Sir Michael had threatened local media with contempt of court over their calls for the official release of the PNG Defence Force Inquiry report that recommends he faces charges over last year’s escape of Australian fugitive Julian Moti to the Solomon Islands.

Sir Michael’s lawyers issued a press release following the leaking of the damning report to The Australian, covered in a series of news and feature articles that began on Monday.

The warning was issued on Thursday night as he lobbied independent MPs to form a coalition government with his National Alliance party.

Details of the report were first revealed by The Australian on Monday, and were followed by a series of extensive reports.

It recommends Sir Michael, as well as several of his top advisers and military officers, face charges or criminal investigation for their alleged role in the escape of Mr Moti, wanted by Australian police on charges of child sex abuse, aboard a PNG military plane to the Solomons on October 10.

Since its completion in March, Sir Michael has refused to release the report as he campaigned ahead of last month’s general elections.

In the report, inquiry chairman, Supreme Court Judge Gibbs Salika, ruled that Sir Michael issued the order for Mr Moti’s escape at the request of Solomons’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has since appointed Mr Moti as the country’s Attorney-General.

Judge Salika also reported that he found evidence of financial corruption by military officers and senior bureaucrats.

Sir Michael and several military officers, subject to charges or disciplinary action under the findings of the report, have challenged the validity of the inquiry.

The two-month inquiry was set-up last December by the then Defence Minister Martin Aini.

Mr Aini was sacked by Sir Michael before the completion of the report.

In the press release, Sir Michael’s lawyers said local coverage of the calls for the reports’ release was already under review for possible contempt proceedings.

Source: The Australian

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