Court dismisses defamation case


A COMMITTAL Court has dismissed a charge of defamatory publication against a PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (PNGICA) officer because of insufficient evidence.
Magistrate Paul Puri Nii, who made the ruling yesterday, said the accused, Nassar Tamei, 47, from Mabudawan, South Fly, Western, was employed by PNGICA as general manager of the Bomana detention centre in the National Capital District (NCD).
The complainant is chief immigration officer Stanis Hulahau.
Police alleged that on the morning of Aug 9 last year, Tamei sent an email to Hulahau and his management team in which he referred to them as “kitchen management”.
Hulahau took offence at the remark and lodged a complaint against Tamei in which he was arrested and charged for making a defamatory publication.
Magistrate Nii said the issue was whether or not evidence was sufficient to commit Tamei to trial.
He said the elements of the charge was that a person would have had to intentionally, without lawful justification, recklessly use a medium to publish defaming information concerning another.
Tamei admitted he sent an email containing the phrase “kitchen management” but said his remark was truthful in the public’s interest, fair and made in good faith.
Tamei was subsequently rendered unattached by Hulahau and he filed an application before the Public Service Commission (PSC) to review Hulahau’s decision.
Magistrate Nii said while he was familiar with the term “kitchen cabinet” which describes a small group of trusted individuals who advises a political leader, he was not sure of “kitchen management”.
He said Tamei’s use of the term was to describe Hulahau’s unilateral and arbitrary decisions that were not consensus based and that he was single-handedly running the affairs of PNGICA without consulting his senior management.
Magistrate Nii then ruled that the evidence was insufficient to make a case of defamatory publication and dismissed it.

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