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Tamate had referred Somare and son to leadership tribunal

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 22, 2011) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Opposition has condemned the sacking of Acting Public Prosecutor Jim Tamate, describing the actions of the Judiciary and Legal Commission (JLC) as completely ridiculous and outrageous.

Leader of PNG Party, Belden Namah said the actions were that of desperate despots to derail the prosecution of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, and his son, Minister for Public Enterprises, Arthur Somare who had been referred for alleged misconduct charges.

[PIR editor’s note: Prime Minister Michael Somare stepped down in late December to allow a tribunal to investigate allegations of misconduct against him. The tribunal only now has been established and the probe has yet to begin (see "Tribunal Set Up…" above) In 2006, his son, Arthur Somare was also alleged to fail to submit his annual statements on time, misapplied his district support grant funds, and failed to account for the funds. His referral to the Ombudsman Commission led to his tendered resignation.]

Mr. Namah said the excuse by Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Sir Arnold Amet , that Mr. Tamate had been sacked for non-performance was a load of garbage, downright lie and preposterous nonsense.

"It is simply to remove a highly competent and dedicated officer who took a very bold and decisive action to refer the Prime Minister to be dealt with by a leadership tribunal for alleged misconduct charges. Sir Anorld as a former Chief Justice should know better. He will not fool citizens of this country by giving lame excuses. No amount of excuse will convince the citizens when this very person took an affirmative stand to refer Sir Michael for alleged misconduct charges," Mr. Namah said.

He said this was yet another desperate attempt by father and son through Sir Arnold to prevent speedier prosecution of their cases.

"Whatever advice Sir Arnold provided in the so called re-election of Sir Paulias Matane, which was later proven to be illegal and unconstitutional should be a stark reminder to the former chief justice," he said.

Mr. Namah said: "Is Sir Arnold doing the right thing or is he being allowed to be used to pursue an ill-conceived plot by the father and son. Is his conscience clear? Is Sir Arnold condoning and promoting the moral rot and wide-spread corruption that is ravaging the whole government system."

He challenged leaders like Sir Arnold, Deputy Prime Minister Sam Abal and Kairuku-Hiri Member of Parliament, Paru Aihi to take serious heed of two consecutive reports by United States in 2008 and 2009, which categorized PNG as a weak country, incapable of preventing crime and corruption. He said if the Prime Minister did not want to be prosecuted then he should immediately release all prisoners in the country’s jails on license as he did to his former Minister for Justice Mrs. Nahau Rooney.

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