SOMARE RELEASES MOTI REPORT TO PNG DEFENSE MINISTER

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 27) - Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has released the Moti inquiry report to Defence Minister Bob Dadae, who has promised to review it and take appropriate actions.

Mr. Dadae said he had taken charge of the report and would table it at the Defence Council to discuss it and take appropriate action where necessary.

[PIR editor’s note: Julian Moti, currently Attorney General in the Solomon Islands has eluded attempts by the Australian government to seek his extradition to face charges in the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu. Moti, who fled to Port Moresby late last year, was later secreted back to the Solomon Islands in a PNG military aircraft. He has since been under the protection of his friend and staunch defender, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.]

Dadae met with Prime Minister Sir Michael last Thursday and requested and obtained a copy of the final report submitted by the Defence Board of Inquiry into the Julian Moti affair.

The report has been frozen pending various court actions but its contents were made public after the National Court rejected a bid by the Prime Minister and others to annul the report and the entire inquiry.

The report recommends that the Prime Minister and others be prosecuted for breaching various laws in secretly moving Julian Moti from Port Moresby to Solomons Islands last October.

Minister Dadae said in a statement yesterday that he advised the Prime Minister that "we wished to table the report before the Defence Council and for him to take appropriate actions where necessary."

"I commend Sir Michael for allowing me as the minister responsible to take control of the matter pursuant to my statutory powers under the Defence Act."

He said the report was prepared at the request of the former minister Martin Aini and only another minister for defense could deal with the final report.

"I can understand why the Prime Minister decided not to deal with the final report while he was the acting minister as he was a primary subject of the inquiry. It would have been quite inappropriate."

Dadae said that now that he had been appointed Minister for Defence, it was timely he took full responsibility of the matter and deal with it appropriately.

"I was never involved nor implicated in the inquiry so I will keep a fresh and impartial mind on the matter.

"I am encouraged by the Prime Minister’s position that I proceed in the best way forward, however, my actions would not affect Sir Michael exercising his private rights to appeal against the judgment of the National Court."

In the meantime, Dadae had asked all parties with an interest in the final report to refrain from making any further comments until he has independently reviewed the report and has made his determination on the next step forward.

"It must not be forgotten that the report was commissioned solely for the purpose of the Minister for Defence and only he has the statutory power to make the final decision on it. No other authorities or individuals are entitled to rely on the findings and recommendations of the report posted on the internet, pending my determination," Dadae said.

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