Court grants leave to Asi


FORMER Defence Secretary Vali Asi was granted leave by the National Court in Waigani yesterday to review his suspension from office.
Justice Leka Nablu ruled that Asi had a substantive case and there were exceptional circumstance for him to seek judicial review.
Asi was suspended by the national executive council (NEC) on Feb 9 and replaced with Trevor Meauri as acting secretary.
The NEC decision was given effect to by the acting Governor-General on Feb 15.
The suspension was made as a consequence of serious allegations raised relating to fraudulent land acquisitions in the Manumanu area of Central.
The leave application was filed on May 23 by Asi’s lawyer Brendan Lai, who is challenged Asi’s suspension on the basis that he was denied his right to respond to the serious allegations before he was suspended from office and replaced.
State lawyer Alice Nasu from the Solicitor General’s Office submitted on Tuesday that Asi had no arguable case and should wait for the disciplinary process to be completed.
Justice Nablu, however, affirmed the application made by Lai and ruled that Asi had an arguable case and granted leave to review the decisions to suspend him from office and appoint Meauri as acting secretary in his place pending investigations.

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