WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) _ Five months after former Navajo Nation President Albert Hale resigned to avoid prosecution on ethics charges, the tribal council's ethics panel recommended the removal of his successor.

The council's Ethics and Rules Committee on Monday recommended that Thomas Atcitty be removed from office and banned from tribal jobs for five years.

Atcitty allegedly accepted free golf trips from companies doing or seeking business with the tribe.

``I have full confidence and trust in the members of the lawmaking body of the Navajo Nation government in making a decision that is in the best interests of the Navajo Nation,'' Atcitty said in a statement Monday. He denied any wrongdoing.

The recommendation is likely to be considered July 20, when the council's summer session begins, officials said. Disciplinary action could range from nothing to censuring Atcitty to removing him from office.

Hale stepped down in February amid allegations he abused the tribe's American Express card.