Friday, March 18, 2011

Monday D-Day for prime minister

THE leadership tribunal enquiring into misconduct allegations against Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare is expected to hand down its decision on liability at 1.30pm on Monday or thereafter, chairman Roger Gyles' office said yesterday,The National reports.

The tribunal, enquiring for the first time into misconduct charges into a reigning prime minister, took four days to hear evidence.

It involved judges from three common law countries (United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) who were given the unprecedented task of deciding whether or not to suspend Sir Michael while the tribunal was in progress.

The tribunal of eminent judges Gyles, Sir Bruce Robertson and Sir Robin Auld decided on Monday to not suspend him.

The tribunal was tasked to enquire into 25 charges relating to Sir Michael's annual returns from 1994 to 1997.

In the event that the tribunal finds shortcomings against Sir Michael, the question of penalty is already provided for under the law.

Under the Organic Law on Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership, if the tribunal finds the leader liable (or guilty) of the misconduct charges, "it shall recommend to the appropriate authority that:

lHe (the leader) be dismissed from office or position; or

lAs permitted: "firstly, that the penalties (under the Leadership Code [Alternative Penalties] Act 1976) that may be recommended and imposed under and for the purposes of section 28 (1A) of the constitution and section 27(5)(b) of the Organic Law on Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership are that the person found guilty of misconduct in office are:

a)Be fined a amount fixed by the tribunal, not exceeding K1,000;

b)Be ordered by the appropriate authority to enter into his recognisance in a reasonable amount, not exceeding K500, fixed by the tribunal that he will comply with division III.2 (leadership code) of the constitution and with the Organic Law during a period fixed by the tribunal, not exceeding 12 months from the date of the announcement, unders ection 27(6) of he Organic Law, of the decision of the tribunal;

c)Be suspended, without pay, from office or position from a period not exceeding three months from the date of commencement of the suspension; or

d)Be reprimanded."

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