Ducking leadership tribunals, placing his family in senior governmental positions, yes this is the man to get PNG the best LNG deal!
Papua New Guinea's Leader 'Fights Tribunal'
Papua New Guinea leader Michael Somare is fighting to stop a tribunal being set up to hear allegations of official misconduct against him, according to his spokeswoman.
Somare, who has led the impoverished island nation for 16 of its 35 years of independence, would be forced to hand over to his deputy for the duration of any probe into his alleged failure to report his finances in the 1990s.
His lawyers have sought to stop the tribunal being set up, saying that another case also alleging financial reporting improprieties by Somare more than a decade ago must be dealt with first.
"The PM's lawyers have asked for an injunction on setting up a tribunal until a substantive matter has been heard by the Supreme Court," Somare's spokeswoman and daughter Betha Somare told AFP via telephone from Port Moresby on Saturday.
Betha Somare said that if the chief justice did decide to go ahead and establish a leadership tribunal, the prime minister would hand the reins of government to his deputy while the case was heard.
"Once the tribunal is set, the PM has to step aside. He says that he will step aside," she said.
The tribunal would consider whether Somare failed to submit records of his pay, as required of all public office holders, during the 1990s, she said.
Betha Somare said the calls for an investigation into the issue were politically motivated and that the prime minister's enemies would "use it to the limit".
"They have tried to pin so many other things on him and they haven't been able to and this is what they've found," she said.
Somare has been under pressure to resign all year, with the veteran leader thwarting a parliamentary no-confidence vote in July triggered by the defection of some MPs only by abruptly adjourning proceedings until November.
At the time, parliament was outraged at the adjournment, and in wild scenes Somare reportedly crossed the floor to tell an opposition lawmaker "you're dead meat".
His spokeswoman said the 74-year-old leader was confident he would not lose his position as prime minister of Papua New Guinea, which is on the cusp of a resources boom thanks to the development of gas deposits.
In response to opposition claims of corruption, Betha Somare said the country was not perfect.
"But that doesn't mean that the party that's in government has to step down because in all governments anywhere in the world these sorts of things happen," she said.