Monday, March 08, 2010

Prime Minister welcomes probe

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare has welcomed the Ombudsman Commission's initiative to investigate any leaders who has breached their roles and responsibilities, The National reports.

"In this instance, the Ombudsman chose to revisit the issue of Julian Moti's departure from PNG on a Defence Force aircraft," Sir Michael said in a statement yesterday.

"I had assumed that the Ombudsman report would be based on hard facts but, sadly, falls far short of this and relies on hearsay evidence.

"A number of serious irregularities were found in the establishment of the board of inquiry into the Moti affair and, on legal advice, Defence Minister Bob Dadae took note of the findings and decided not to pursue the matter," Sir Michael said.

He said the Ombudsman pursued the matter regardless of the flaws identified with the findings of the inquiry and the outcome of the Queensland supreme court hearings.

"I find the conduct of the Ombudsman Commission to be calculating, mischievous and lacking in transparency.

"Furthermore, I am surprised that the Ombudsman has called on the police to further investigate my role as prime minister in the use of a Defence Force aircraft to take Moti to the Solomon Islands.

"The Ombudsman, however, did not give any reasons for this damaging recommendation," Sir Michael said.

"I wish to state categorically that the findings of the Ombudsman are all based on circumstantial evidence.

"I call upon the Ombudsman to come clear on what offence under the Criminal Act they will use for possible prosecution against me.

"Without this, the motive of the Ombudsman Commission appears to be sinister and reflected a lack of objectivity and fairness in dealing with the matter at hand," he said.




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