Thursday, March 24, 2011

Verdict on prime minister slated for 4pm

AFTER 4pm today, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will know what
penalty has been imposed on him by the leadership tribunal which has
found him guilty of 13 of 25 charges of breaching the leadership code,
The National reports.
Whether he remains prime minister is one of the penalties being considered.
The charges related to lateness and incomplete annual financial
returns statements between 1994 and 1997.
Yesterday afternoon, the tribunal sent out a public notice saying it
would hand down its decision beginning at 4pm today.
On Tuesday, the prosecution had submitted to the tribunal to impose
the maximum penalty of dismissal.
However, the prime minister's defence team of Posman Kua Aisi Lawyers
principal Kerenga Kua and Justin Wohuinangu, led by overseas lawyer
Ian Molloy, argued that the charges did not warrant dismissal,
submitting that he should be fined K500 for each of the 13 charges.
Molloy argued that Sir Michael had attempted to lodge all his annual
returns in his busy schedule that also included changing offices from
Port Moresby to Wewak and on some of these occasions, not being a PM.
He argued that late lodgment or incomplete annual return forms Sir
Michael had lodged was not as severe as that committed by other MPs
over the years since PNG's independence, for which they had only being
penalised fines of between K500 and K1,000 per charge.
Molloy had argued that some of these leaders had totally failed to
lodge their annual returns or had been charged with non-accountability
of public funds and that their penalty were monetary fines.

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