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Friday, September 21, 2007

PNG Civil Society Groups urge PM Somare to face Moti case

Non-Government Organisations in Papua New Guinea have called on the Ombudsman Commission, Transparency International, Police Fraud Squad and leaders of PNG to work together to express their views concerning the Moti issue.

The Presidents of the Eda Hanua Moresby Inc Philip Kepan, Millennium Good Governance Organisation Victor Tongop, Noel Koloa from the PNG National Awareness Front and Benjamin Pokawin from the Informal Youths Sector Association said this in a joint statement yesterday.

The Presidents of the four NGO groups said they represented the civil society and pointed out that the Moti case was a big crime the government committed knowing full well that the directions that were being followed were illegal.

They said they wanted to make it clear to every Papua New Guinean that any future representation of the country by the Prime Minister at an international forum will not have the complete trust of the people.

“He must no longer be seen as a true ambassador of this beautiful country,” the NGO groups said.

Mr Kepan said the adjournment of the parliament to October to allow the Prime Minister to attend G8 meeting in the United States on the issue of climatic change was not a good enough excuse.

“The Chief has a big problem on the home front yet to be solved, but he still had the time to attend to other matters,” Mr Kepan said.

He said this attitude was uncalled for and as the Chief of the nation he could have attended to the Moti affair in which he was implicated.

The groups said the simple fact of the matter was that Sir Michael broke the laws of PNG by not following the correct procedures to remove Julian Moti who was wanted in another country.

Meanwhile, a PNG Good Governance expert says the Moti Inquiry report has uncovered deep-seated accountability and corruption problems within the Papua New Guinea bureaucracy.

Anthony Regan, a former legal adviser for the PNG government now based at the Australian National University, described the findings of the Justice Gibbs Salika-chaired army inquiry as “amazingly frank” and said it was now up to PNG institutions such as the Ombudsman Commission to look at its findings.

Mr Regan said those who were implicated would have hoped the matter died a natural death but that will not happen quickly.

“It’s an amazingly frank and open examination of deep seated accountability and corruption problems within the bureaucracy in Papua New Guinea. Well presumably, the Government will appeal the decision and they’ll seek to get the injunction back in place while it’s dealt with and some who would predict that the aim will be to slow things down, wait until the public lose interest and hope that no investigations take place because of things being blocked.

But there is going to be huge public pressure probably for that not to happen,” he said.

Mr Regan – a constitutional lawyer and currently a fellow at the ANU’s state, society and governance in Melanesia program – added the Ombudsman Commission did not need to wait for a formal copy of the report.

Source: Post Courier

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