Monday, March 21, 2011

Ruling on prime minister set for 1.30pm


PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare will know by the end of today
whether he is guilty of the 25 misconduct charges against him under
the leadership tribunal which heard evidence last week, The National
His fate will be determined by the tribunal based on a decision on
liabilities that will be handed down by three eminent judges – Roger
Gyles, Sir Bruce Robertson and Sir Robin Auld.
The tribunal said in a media statement last Friday that its findings
would be handed down at 1.30pm today.
Sir Michael had been accused of breaching the leadership code by
failing to submit his financial earnings for 1994-97.
The tribunal statement read: "The leadership tribunal, enquiring into
the allegations of misconduct in office by Sir Michael Somare, PM,
will deliver its decision on liability at 1.30pm on Monday, March 21,
The 25 charges laid against Sir Michael, and his referral in October
2006 by then former chief ombudsman Ila Geno, were categorised into
three main groups:
* Failing without reasonable excuse to give annual statements to the
Ombudsman Commission – under which there were five separate instances;
* Failure to give annual statements, at least once in every period of
12 months: in which eight individual charges were cited; and
* Incomplete annual statements; for which, 12 individual charges were cited.
Before the tribunal rose for the day last Tuesday, after giving its
final reasons about why the three members each chose not to suspend
the prime minister while the tribunal was in progress, which were
based on submissions from both the prosecution and the defence
lawyers, tribunal chairman Gyles said: "Supposing we deliver our
decision on liabilities on, say Friday (March 18), then Monday or
Tuesday next week will be set for more evidence.
"That is, if we find any liabilities, you need to call evidence on that."
Liabilities are the alleged legally accountable responsibilities –
hence, the charges – which could be held against Sir Michael relating
to his annual returns for 1994 to 1997, which he had allegedly not
filed with the Ombudsman Commission, declaring his annual earnings.
And, the tribunal noted, that if the prime minister did fill his
annual returns, then, he did not do so and submit them to the OC, on
time; or that, if the forms were filled, then they were not filled out

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