Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen and Ombudsman Kevin Kepore said the referral was in the hands of Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin who had the discretion to bring or decline proceedings against Governor Saonu under the Leadership Code.
Mr Saonu said: “The Ombudsman Commission served upon me notice in writing that it has referred me to the Public Prosecutor for possible prosecution,” he said.
There are three charges, all arising out of the establishment by the Morobe Provincial Executive Council (PEC) in 2017, of a two-man committee to look into the K44 million public debt allegedly owed by the provincial government.
“Among the materials supplied to the Ombudsman was a full and comprehensive report of committee chairman Don Sawong and legal counsel Karo Gamoga.
“I want the people of my province to know that there is no evidence whatsoever that I or any member of the PEC received any benefits.
“The committee was appointed for the good of the province. Despite that, I fully acknowledge the independence of the Ombudsman Commission to exercise its discretion to make the referral.
“I welcome it and look forward to clearing my name fully through that process,” Governor Saonu stated.