REPORT: PNG MILITARY UNAUTHORIZED TO AID MOTI

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 20) – Orders issued by a senior Defence staffer to officers to aid the escape of Julian Moti were not proper, a secret report reveals. They did not conform to PNGDF [Papua New Guinea Defense Force] standards of operating manuals, the initial report rejected by the Government reveals.

But the officers down the line did not question the authority and fulfilled instructions to the letter.

Similarly, the senior officer who directed the night flight did not question the authority of a National Security Advisory Council executive.

[PIR editor’s note: Julian Moti, who was recently named Attorney General of the Solomon Islands, is an Australian national who has evaded efforts by the Australian government to have him extradited in connection with sexal abuse charges in Vanuatu. ]

The report named a senior military man as the key planner for the clandestine escape of Australian fugitive Julian Moti to the Solomon Islands on October 10. His orders had come from a top government bureaucrat and in less than 15 hours the plan was implemented.

The initial report states that three officers were the PNGDF key planners of the operation which put Australia at diplomatic loggerheads with PNG and the Solomons.

The report states that PNGDF Commander Commodore Ilau, who was in Solomon Islands visiting fellow soldiers involved in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), was not advised of the special operation. Other defence council members (the Defence Secretary and the Minister) were also not told of the extraordinary episode.

There was no diplomatic clearance obtained, an action amounting to violation of international aviation laws, the report says.

And if proper diplomatic clearance was not obtained, the flight by the PNGDF CASA aircraft was illegal, the report said.

The Defence Force operatives were getting their directions from a high-level government civil servant.

The report said: "Where and who . . . . . . . . was getting his instructions from is a matter for the Government’s overall investigation to establish.’’

"The operation for the involvement of the PNGDF was planned at 1100 hours on Monday October 9, 2006 at Waigani and at HQ PNGDF, Murray Barracks and executed at 0115 hours on Tuesday October at the PNGDF Air Transport Wing (ATW), Jacksons Airport,’’ the report said.

The senior military planner involved "had all the responsibility for all PNGDF operations and activities. He had the ultimate and direct responsibility for this operation".

Another senior officer became part of the the planning team by default. A senior air wing officer became involved by direction from above but also because it was natural for him to become a part of the operation because of his duties, the report said.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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