By KARO JESSE
THREE of the 22 allegations of misconduct in office levelled against Telefomin MP Solan Mirisim have been were struck out by a Leadership Tribunal after the public prosecutor indicated that the provisions relied upon were wrong and misconceived.
The tribunal chaired by Justice Les Gavara-Nanu on Saturday rejected Mirisim’s no-case submission for all the allegations, and ruled that he would have to answer to the rest of the allegations except for those he pleaded guilty to (and), the three – allegations 11, 12 and 13 – which were struck out.
Mirisim had pleaded guilty to declaring false and misleading information in the annual statement for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.
The three allegations struck out were on the:
- CORPORATE income tax for Motop Business Group Inc;
- SALARY and wages tax for Motop Business Group Inc; and,
- GOODS and service tax for Motop Business Group Inc.
Lawyer Greg Sheppard, of Young and Williams, for Mirisim, argued that the rest of the allegations should be dismissed.
However, the tribunal ruled that the principles of the case laws Sheppard relied on which were criminal trials in nature were not applicable in leadership tribunal cases because a tribunal was not a court of law.
“We are not deciding on the criminal charges,” Justice Gavara Nanu said.
“Here, we are deciding whether the leader has responded to himself in the discharge of his duties and responsibilities as a leader.
“In cases of allegation of misconduct in office, the question is whether the requirements of section 27 of the Constitution are substantiated or supported by evidence adduced.
“In our view as a body charged with the inquiry into the allegations raised against the leader, we are required to form an opinion whether the leader is guilty of misconduct in office.
“In our view leadership tribunal can only uphold a no-case submission in the clearest of cases.
“In this case, Sheppard has asked the tribunal to also interpret certain provisions of the organic law.
“We do not think that is our function as a body incharge of investigating allegations of misconduct in office.
“In our view, we cannot properly discharge our inquisitor functions based on evidence from prosecution only.
“Here, we are really being asked to weigh the evidence and we can only do that after we hear from both sides.
“For those reasons, we call upon the leader to answer to allegations except for allegation one which he pleaded guilty to and allegations 11, 12 and 13 which are stuck out.”
The tribunal is adjourned to Aug 16 for Mirisim to respond to the remaining allegations.