PM addresses the nation

Main Stories, National

The National Monday, December 13, 2010

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare has told the nation that he will not erode the powers of important constitutional offices like the Ombudsman Commission, public prosecutor and the Chief Justice.
Sir Michael in the nationwide address yesterday on national radio NBC, its TV arm Kundu2 and EMTV on his referral said he had the right to defend himself when he felt that processes were not followed.
Speaking in Tok Pisin, he said: “I want you, the people of Papua New Guinea, to know that I am responsible for the setting up of Papua New Guinea’s constitutional offices like the Ombudsman Commission, the public prosecutor and the chief justice.”
“I would not erode the powers of these important offices.
“However, as a citizen of this country, I have a right to defend myself if I feel that processes have not been followed that led to the charges against me.”
Sir Michael said there were a lot of lies being circulated against him and his family and charges against him by the Ombudsman Commission.
“I am here today to clarify to people what is happening about my referral by the Ombudsman Commission.
“I cannot make comments on how I feel about the charges; that would be seen as an attempt to influence the courts.
“I can, however, tell you what the case is about.”
He said the Ombudsman Commission took a decision in  November of 2006 to refer him related to non-filing of some of his returns; some were late and others incomplete between the period 1994 and 1997.
“I want the public to know that non-submittal of Ombudsman Returns is an administrative matter. It is not a case of misappropriation and dishonesty.
“In my defence, my lawyers are saying the process the Ombudsman Commission used to refer me is flawed.
“This matter is still being argued and is before the Supreme Court.
“When I began in politics over 40 years ago we did not win office because we lied to people and misinformed them about the truth.”
He said in 1967 and 1968 he was dealing with a foreign administration.
“We experienced a life that is different to life today in Papua New Guinea.
“Under the former administration our rights were restricted.
“We were not allowed to move freely as we do today. There were curfews every night in our main towns. We could not hold public rallies.
“Early politicians like myself grouped together to change this. Through political persuasion, we convinced our administrators that we were ready for self rule.
“I, therefore, take great exception to the lie that nothing has changed in 35 years.”
He said many things had changed, especially the way politics was being played today although there were aspects of PNG’s traditional life that had not changed in thousands of years.
“Life in our cities today is influenced very much by globalisation, we have access to modern media today that is very powerful. Modern media can be used in both a good and bad way.”
He said by using modern media to tell people lies over and over again, eventually people start to believe these lies.
“And there are a lot of lies out there today about me, my family and the charges against me by the office of the Ombudsman Commission.”