Prosecutor sacked after PM allegations

Independence of judiciary is now in question


THE HOPE OF A NATION is pinned on the strength of its judiciary, and the final defeat of democracy is for the head of the judiciary to bring into question its independence.

The timing and reasons given by the Attorney-General and former Chief Justice, Arnold Amet, in the sacking of the Public Prosecutor implies political influence exists within the judiciary.

Last week, the Attorney General discouraged the public from “putting pressure” on the Chief Justice to appoint a leadership tribunal to hear charges against his boss, the Prime Minister, Michael Somare.

Exactly five days later, the same Attorney General has sacked the Chief Prosecutor, who would have presented the case against the PM, for allegedly “failing to perform” without any further details of how he has failed in his duties.

People are entitled to conclude that this is anything but a coincidence.

Constitutional offices such as the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the Ombudsman Commission have for a long time been starved off vital funds to perform their constitutional responsibilities effectively.

If the Public Prosecutor has been sacked for “non-performance” then he can rightly argue that any non-­-performance, other than mere incompetence, is the doing of the Minister and his government.

The Attorney General will do well if he starts by ensuring these offices are adequately funded otherwise he himself is just as guilty of non-performance”.

Effrey Dademo is the program manager of advocacy group, ACT NOW!


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Reginald Renagi

Efferey Dademo makes a good observation of the recent, questionable actions by PNG's new Justice Minister and Attorney General.

The public cannot be fooled by the government. This whole thing is politically motivated, and is not just mere coincidence.

Acting Public Prosecutor, Jim Wala Tamate, is being replaced by one of his deputies, Camillus Sambua, effective as of 17 March and will be just another "Actor" warming the chair for 12 months.

The former Acting Public Prosecutor was braver than his legal peers in referring the PM to a Leadership Tribunal. He did what he had to do where previously no one had the guts to do that for some appreciable time.

The trend is now set for the whole leadership referral process to be deliberately delayed until right up to next year's elections.

I listened to what the Justice Minister had to say on talkback radio this morning and he disappointed me. The MP did not articulate well his justifications as to why he removed Jim Tamate.

The Minister used a lot of fancy legal words but the public is not convinced and are disappointed by this whole thing.

This prompted former Deputy PM, Sir Puka Temu (now in the Opposition) to come on air to question this action by Justice Minister and AG, Arnold Amet.

All in all, the public can rightly assume that the Judiciary and Legal Commission, of which the AG is the Chairman, has been biased and has already compromised its own position in this matter.

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