Home > Papua New Guinea, Politics > O’Neill breaks his word – uses controversial law to refer CJ for alleged misconduct

O’Neill breaks his word – uses controversial law to refer CJ for alleged misconduct

The O’Neill government this morning used the controversial Judicial Conduct Act to refer Papua New Guinea’s Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia to the Head of State to set up a tribunal to investigate alleged judicial misconduct.

Alexander Rheeney

This is despite parliament-elected Prime Minister Peter O’Neill assuring all Papua New Guineans in a nationwide televised address recently that his government will delay implementing the law for nine months in order to carry out public awareness.

PNG National and Supreme Court justice Nicholas Kirriwom has also been referred to the Head of State in an unprecedented development in the country’s short history.

“It is therefore my important but difficult task to move a motion pursuant to section 5 of the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 for parliament to refer His Honor the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia to a tribunal of his peers for an inquiry as to whether the terms of the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 have been breached. I also move a motion pursuant to section 5 of the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 for parliament to refer His Honor Judge Kirriwom to a tribunal of his peers for an inquiry as to whether the terms of the Judicial Conduct 2012 have been breached,” the O’Neill government’s leader for government business, Moses Maladina, told parliament this morning.

Under PNG laws the public prosecutor is empowered to refer PNG politicians and top bureaucrats under the country’s Leadership Code if it finds the State has a prima facie case, however the direct involvement of the Governor General – via a motion of parliament as stipulated under this controversial law – now enables this symbolic office to play a direct role in the nation’s affairs.

PNG Opposition Leader, Dame Carol Kidu, condemned the referral this morning and warned that PNG faces an uncertain future with parliament now having the ultimate authority over the judiciary, an institution which many Papua New Guineans regard as the country’s last bastion of hope.

Parliamentarians led by sidelined Supreme Court-reinstated PM Sir Michael Somare are studying the implications of these developments in parliament and will release a statement shortly.

The referral will infuriate student protesters, trade unions and civil society led by the Community Coalition Against Corruption (CCAC) who have threatened to go on a nationwide protest and stop-work if the O’Neill government did not revoke the law in this session of parliament.

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  1. aaron
    April 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    this government has gone from saviour to destroyer. wer is png headed to now?

  2. Emmanuel Ben
    April 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Power hungry ya!!!! Come on Papua New Guineans, do we have the spirit of Nationallism and patriotism? Why do keep standing to see our young country going to the dogs in broad daylight??? please people, if there is ever gona be a chance for us to stand up for the rights and the future of our country than now is the time. I LOVE MY PAPUA NEW GUINEA, with tears….

  3. April 5, 2012 at 12:23 am

    We are now seeing the true intentions of the judicial act that was recently rushed through in record time… So in actual fact Oneil told a blatant lie to the country on national television… Though not that anyone would be fooled easily… Also the government withholding back allowances for students because they demonstrated against the new law is frankly quite childish but then again it’s not so surprising…
    Regardless of wether the politicians or the judges are correct, let’s just get the elections going and start all over again..and hopefully remove some of these retrospective lawmaking business !

  4. April 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I knew it!
    Oneils assurance to review the Judicial Conduct bill was too good to be true. After all, this piece of legislation was enacted for his benefit only and not for the good of the nation at all.
    He has a only two months left and what good will this law do for him in 9 months time? Nothing! He will have lost the elections by then. He needs this law to be used and used now at all costs.
    This government is treating PNG as a nation of fools that can be lied to and be easily manipulated. Is this true Papua New Guineans?
    You decide.

  5. April 5, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Read a more thorough analysis of why Peter O’Neill chose the lesser of two evils: attacking the Judiciary over postponing the election on The Garamut:

    http://garamut.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/oneill-chooses-the-lesser-of-two-evils-attacking-the-judiciary-over-postponement-of-election/

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