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Staff Reporter 11/17/2014 | | |
Prime Minister Peter O'Neil says only a Leadership Tribunal will decide whether or not he steps down from office, while he's being investigated over allegations of misconduct in office.
But the leading case law on suspension of leaders before a Tribunal, is that of current Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch, in which a three-men Supreme Court bench in 2010 had ruled that the suspension of a leader from office is automatic, once a Tribunal is appointed.
Mr. O'Neil was served a letter by the Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin (last Friday), informing him of his request to the Chief Justice to appoint an appropriate Leadership Tribunal to enquire into the allegations.
But Mr. O'Neil told reporters over the weekend, that unless he is requested to step down, he'll continue as the Prime Minister of PNG.
"When we go before the Tribunal, the Tribunal will make those decisions.
"Of course Im elected by the people, Im elected on the floor of Parliament.
"The only way that I can be removed is through this two means - by the people and by Parliament.
"So of course, I will continue to run the affairs of the country, and there is no need to make any decisions as such.
"We will allow the Tribunal to do so," Mr. O'Neil said.
History has recorded Sir Julius Chan as the only Prime Minister who stood down from office while he was investigated by a Leadership Tribunal, following the Sandline Crisis in 1997.
Mr. O'Neil's predecessor Sir Michael Somare raised eyebrows in 2011, when he became the first Prime Minister and leader of the highest rank to continue in office while he was investigated by a Leadership Tribunal.

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