PRIME MINISTER Sir Michael Somare has appointed his son, Angoram MP Arthur Somare, as PNG's acting Finance and Treasury Minister.
The appointment has been described it as “risky and dangerous” by the Opposition
Saying Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu should get the job, Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta said: “What has Somare got that other members in government benches do not have? Why is he special to deserve all the glory and power?”
The portfolio became vacant after incumbent Patrick Pruaitch was suspended from office because of his referral to a leadership tribunal over allegations of misconduct in office. Pruatich is challenging his referral in court, and the case is pending.
Somare, who is also Public Enterprises Minister, is facing misconduct allegations of his own. The public prosecutor last week asked the chief justice to appoint a judge to head a leadership tribunal to inquire into allegations of misconduct in office which were referred by the Ombudsman Commission in 2006.
Somare continues to hold office because he took out an injunction against his suspension, and is challenging his referral in court.
Meanwhile Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta has called on Somare to step aside to answer the leadership charges.
He said Somare must act in the interest of good governance and law. “As a senior minister and an important member of the ‘kitchen cabinet’, the minister is duty-bound to respect and uphold the Constitution and principles of law by stepping aside to answer leadership charges against him,” Sir Mekere said.
He said public prosecutor, Jim Wala Tamate, had decided to ask the Chief Justice to appoint a new chairman for the leadership tribunal to investigate the misconduct allegations against Somare.
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