|Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare leaving the Waigani court premises with his deputy Sam Abal after yesterday's leadership tribunal found the prime minister guilty of 13 counts.-Nationalpic by EKAR KEAPU|
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare sat expressionless as the judgment was read by tribunal chairman Roger Gyles, in summary.
It took no more than five minutes as he summarised the tribunal’s main findings.
The tribunal also said they would be making recommendations, relating to this proceeding, to the head of state, the governor-general.
However, prior to making any recommendations to Government House, pursuant to section 27(5) of the Organic Law on leadership, it would “provide an opportunity for further submissions and/or evidence”.
These, it will hear today at 9.30am through submissions on penalty from both parties.
Sir Michael is the first prime minister to be tried by the leadership tribunal in relation to his annual returns from 1994 to 1997.
The not guilty and dismissed charges related to his returns between May 1997 and May 2004.
The latter years were regarded as “unnecessary” and not pressed by the prosecution because they were outside the 1994-97 period which the Ombudsman Commission had initially investigated and brought charges against in 2006.
Of the 13 guilty charges, eight were allegations relating to incomplete statements while five counts were related to delay in providing such statements to the ombudsman.
In the 44-page judgment, the judges explained that there were no other allegations of corrupt practices or breach of any substantive provisions of the Organic Law on leadership by Sir Michael except the allegations on delay and incomplete statements.
In respect of Sir Michael’s duty under section 4 of the Organic Law on leadership, to provide to the Ombudsman Commission timely and complete annual financial statements, the tribunal:
* Found him not guilty of all three of the effective allegations against him of misconduct in office by failure to provide such statements, namely allegations 2, 3 and 4, and had summarily dismissed two others, namely allegations 1 and 5, as unnecessary;
* Found him guilty of all five of the effective allegations against him of misconduct in office by delay in providing such statements to the Ombudsman Commission, namely allegations 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12, and had summarily dismissed three others, namely allegations 6 and 13 as unnecessary and allegation 11 as it was not pressed by the public prosecutor; and
* Found him guilty of the eight effective allegations against him of misconduct in office by providing to the Ombudsman Commission incomplete statements, namely allegations, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23 and 24, and had summarily dismissed four others, namely allegations 14 and 25 as unnecessary and allegations 17 and 22 as they were not pressed by the public prosecutor.