Courts defend Papua New Guinea's Constitution

There have been two major victories in the last few days in the campaign to defend Papua New Guinea's Constitution and uphold democratic principles.

First, the Supreme Court ruled the appointment of the governor general was unconstitutional and invalid, and second, the Prime Minister, Michael Somare, has been forced to step down to face a Leadership Tribunal for alleged misconduct in office.
These are major victories against a Prime Minister and a government who have tried to place themselves above the law and have abused Parliamentary processes and democratic principles to suit there own agenda and try to avoid any scrutiny.
Governor General
The Supreme Court has ruled the controversial reappointment of the governor-general, in June this year, was unconstitutional and invalid.
The court found there were numerous breaches of parliamentary process and no ballot.
The Supreme Court judges were particularly scathing of the role played by Speaker Jeffery Nape, who has also been criticized for repeatedly failing to allow the Opposition a vote of no-confidence against the government and adjourning Parliament for long periods.
As a result of the court decision, the governor-general ceased to hold office at midday yesterday and there must be a new election for the post held before the end of January.
Prime Minister
The Prime Minister has been trying to avoid a Leadership Tribunal for two years over his failure to make annual declarations of his financial assets and explain who funded some of his overseas trips (he has also not explained how he has paid for all his costly appeals and applications!)
Two weeks ago the courts struck out one of his appeals against the Ombudsman Commission's referral, opening the door for the Public Prosector to ask the Chief Justice to establish a Leadership Tribunal to hear the charges.
Yesterday Somare's lawyers were stilling running around the court houses trying to find someone and someway of avoiding due process, but no judges were prepared to consider any more applications or delays. 
As a result the PM has been forced to step down (as was his Finance Minister and Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch earlier this year).
It is somewhat ironic that the Prime Minister has in recent days been citing his involvement in the drafting of our Constitution as evidence of his good name - it is a shame that he has not been so diligent in ensuring its enforcement!
There are, of course, many actions and decisions that still need to be addressed, such as the Environment Act amendments, Forestry Act amendments and Finance Department Commission of Inquiry findings,.
But is is very significant that both the Prime Minister and governor-general have been removed within a few days of each other and we should pause to celebrate the fact our laws are being upheld by the courts and remind ourselves that as long as lawyers and the courts uphold our Constitution then no-one is above the law.


The decisions by the courts of PNG is great news for all law abiding citizens who are definitely fed up with this government and its coalition partners who seem to break all the rules and laws of this wonderful country to suit their own egos. It is definitely a wake up call to all the MPs in this government to think twice before doing anything that would jeorpadise their won existence. I think they need to learn from this case, and as a reminder, to re-visit what had happened before to the dry coconut from Aitape-Lumi. These two cases alone sound a warning bell. The warning is clear - Don't do something that would bring you face to face with the law. The honourable former PM is old enough to know that if the laws require you to submit your returns in complete every year on the due date, you need to do that without any excuses. It's simple as that. And pay your taxes if you need to as required. It wouldn't cost you anything. In other countries in the world, you'd be arrested and jailed if you were late with your submissions or for the simple fact that you haven't submitted a return for just a single year on time or not at all. On the other hand, it brings into question the quality of legal representation the former PM has been receiving. It seems this kind of representation, including the advices, are of poor quality and possibly bother on a criminal act in itself. Who knows? A syndicate might be in operation. On the other hand, the Opposition should pursue the legality of decisions taken by the re-appointed former GG. The new Attorney General thinks otherwise but the latest decision by the Supreme Court thinks the opposite. This position could be illegal in nature, likewise, the acting GG position held for seven days. The argument that the Speaker was away and could not take up the position is crap. He could have been easily called back from his hide-out down under. Besides, he is paid to do his job in PNG and not somewhere else beyond the borders that define his very existence. The time is now ripe for the right thinking leaders of this country to change this government and bring back some decency in the governance of this beautiful country.