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PNG leader Somare steps down

Source:  Copyright 2010, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Date:  December 19, 2010
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Papua New Guinea's prime minister Sir Michael Somare has stepped down so a tribunal can hear allegations of official misconduct against him.

Sir Michael says he has "voluntarily" stepped aside so a leadership tribunal can hear allegations he failed to lodge several annual financial statements in the 1990s.

The move came after his lawyers failed to obtain an injunction preventing the public prosecutor from moving to appoint a tribunal.

Newly-appointed deputy Sam Abal will assume full function and responsibility of the office of the prime minister while the tribunal hears the allegations against Sir Michael.

In a statement, Sir Michael said he was the victim of a "gross injustice" because there had not been a judge available to hear his application for an injunction in the last few days.

He said he also filed a challenge against his referral to the prosecutor in the Supreme Court two years ago but has not been given his ...

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