PM hits back

National, Normal


PARLIAMENT yesterday voted to reject the Ombudsman Commission’s report on the Julian Moti Affair after Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare delivered a scathing attack on the commission.
The Prime Minister described the report as stupid and disappointing, and accused the commission of sneaking it through the “back door” into the office of the Speaker and onto  the floor of Parliament.
Sir Michael hit back yesterday at the report, tabled in Parliament last week under the Government’s nose, which recommended criminal investigations by police against the Prime Minister and former deputy prime minister Don Polye.
Sir Michael said the contents of the report “speak very poorly of the integrity and objectivity of the Ombudsman Commission in the conduct of its duties”.
“It provided no concrete evidence and yet made very damaging claims against me, the Prime Minister.
“Despite its bold claims on page 40 that its findings were based on ‘hard evidence’, the Ombudsman Commission provided none.”  “Its arguments to justify its findings remind me of a spider’s web. The web is full of holes and gaps although it is specifically woven to try and trap something,” Sir Michael said.
He said the Ombudsman Commission relied heavily on the word of one person whose account had been denied and disputed by everyone.
“Let me make this statement once more.  I did not give any directions for Moti to be flown by Defence Force aircraft to the Solomon Islands,” the Prime Minister said.
“I helped bring about the birth of Papua New Guinea and I will always act in the best interest of the people of this country.
“Reading through the report, there is no direct evidence that I, as the Prime Minister, gave directions for Moti to be flown to the Solomon Islands by the PNG Defence Force using the Casa aircraft.
“The imputation by the Ombudsman Commission report that this was so is clearly not based on evidence.  There is simply no evidence linking me to the actual evacuation of Moti and the modus operandi of the evacuation.”
He said the “circumstantial” evidence which the Ombudsman Commission relied on to make its findings, deals with purported communication between the late Barney Rongap and the late Joseph Asaigo and Leonard Louma – for Moti to be allowed to go to the Solomon Islands – not for Moti to be airlifted by a PNGDF aircraft to Munda on Oct 10, 2006.
“Therefore, finding No.12, that ‘direction to transport Moti to Solomon Islands came from the Prime Minister’ was not based on any evidence and is untenable.”
 He said of the eight recommendations, one said that the commissioner of police should conduct investigation for possible breaches of the Criminal Code by Government officials including the Prime Minister and then deputy prime minister Don Polye.
“Unfortunately, the Ombudsman Commission did not give any reasons at all for this very damaging recommendation,” Sir Michael said.
“It did not indicate, for example, which part of the Criminal Code Act I, as the Prime Minister or the then deputy prime minister, may have breached. 
“This, therefore, rendered this part of the report and recommendation useless and futile,” Sir Michael said.