The family issued a statement clarifying that late Sir Michael had handpicked Bengo out of UPNG in 1973 to be his Principle Private Secretary, taking over from the young Sir Rabbie Namaliu at that time.
Since then, Bengo has been a loyal public servant for many years, serving in many capacities both in provincial and National Government.
After the passage of the Organic Law on Political Parties and Candidates, Bengo became the first Registrar of Political Parties.
His loyalty to PNG and Sir Michael makes him an obvious representative for the Somare family.
He will liaise with State officials to make sure that there is coordination between all parties in the arrangements for the late Sir Michael, to have the consent of the family and is acceptable to the people of Papua New Guinea.
“Again as Sir Michael was a friend, father and mentor to so many people around the country, we have seen already a great number of people asking for a haus krai to be set up," said the family.
“In practical terms it is difficult for everyone to congregate at his 4mile residence.
“We therefore kindly request that friends and relatives respect and follow COVID-19 protocols. While it is our tradition to sit and share stories of our beloved deceased relatives, we are living in precarious times.
“It is a fact that COVID numbers have increased in our country over the recent months. We ask that relatives respect the health of our other aging parent, our mother by observing protocols such as washing hands, not shaking hands but (doing) a fist bump, and social distancing.”
In the interest of the media, liaise with Rodney Kamus at email@example.com, who is part of Bengo’s team.