Friday, August 3, 2007

PNG's 'secret' Moti report stirs threats

After early reports in The Australian revealing embarrassing choice bits in the "secret" PNG Defence Force report on the Moti affair, the newspaper followed up with publishing the entire document online. PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare (right), who ought to face charges, says the report, did his damnedest to keep the report out of the media before last month's election. And he has also threatened local media. But now that he looks a fair bet to remain PM after the post-election horse trading, it will be interesting to see how his stance shifts over the next few weeks. According to Michael McKenna in The Australian, Somare had threatened local media with contempt of court over their calls for the official release of the PNG Defence Force Inquiry report that recommends he faces charges over last year’s escape of Australian fugitive Julian Moti (above left) to the Solomon Islands: "Somare's lawyers issued a press release following the leaking of the damning report to The Australian .... The warning was issued on Thursday night as he lobbied independent MPs to form a coalition government with his National Alliance party. Details of the report were first revealed by The Australian on Monday, and were followed by a series of extensive reports. It recommends Sir Michael, as well as several of his top advisers and military officers, face charges or criminal investigation for their alleged role in the escape of Mr Moti, wanted by Australian police on charges of child sex abuse, aboard a PNG military plane to the Solomons on October 10." The problem for the Australians is that many Melanesians in PNG and the Solomon Islands have no sympathy for the Canberra "big stick" and are fed up with the patronising political meddling.

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