Ilya Gridneff, AAP Papua New Guinea Correspondent.
March 10, 2011 - 2:29PM
A leadership tribunal into alleged misconduct by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has started in the capital Port Moresby.
Sir Michael's legal team spent most of this morning trying to derail the hearing but their arguments were rejected by the three-member bench.
Ian Molloy QC tried for an adjournment citing Sir Michael's concurrent Supreme Court bid to shut down the tribunal on grounds of bias.
Mr Molloy also made an application for the charges of misconduct to be dismissed.
"The charges are ambiguous and not offensive under the law," he told the packed courtroom.
It was a who's who of PNG's political elite for the tribunal's first day of sitting, with the prime minster flanked by his cabinet and family members.
Sir Michael is facing numerous allegations that he failed to lodge financial statements as far back as 20 years ago.
Near the courtroom, a small group of protesters gathered, demanding an end to what they said was systemic corruption stifling PNG's development.
The court adjourned for lunch and was due to resume at 2.30pm AEDT.
© 2011 AAP