Finance inquiry returns to court

Main Stories, National

The National- Friday, January 21, 2011

 IT is back to the courts again for the government in its bid to strike out an injunction preventing the publication of and further action on the Commission of Inquiry into the Finance Department.

The matter is one of the 40 cases that former judge Mark Sevua had carriage of and which he will now not be able to attend to because he is no longer a judge.

Sevua had the case for seven months and, despite repeated requests from government lawyers, failed to discharge the matter until his departure when the Judicial and Legal Services Commission refused to extend his term in office.

The former judge told the media last week that he regretted having to leave so many cases unfinished.

Chief secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc yesterday revealed his own displeasure at the lengthy delay in revealing the inquiry report to the people.

“I have to ask my lawyers to go back to court and start all over again,” Zurenuoc said.

“I feel totally helpless. I am embarrassed that I have not been able to deliver.

“All systems of State have a responsibility to ensure there is an outcome on the commission of inquiry. I have a responsibility to the people of PNG. 

“Millions of kina has been spent.”

The inquiry was completed and handed to the Prime Minister on Nov 6, 2009. Last March 4, it was tabled in parliament but two days later, an injunction was taken to stop its publication.

From then until now, the matter has been in the courts and now the judge handling the case has been forced to leave the bench.

Manasupe said a full secretariat has been established to implement the findings but which will now have to wait until the injunction is lifted.

And for that to happen, the chief secretary indicated he would have to reinstitute the action to life the injunction with new lawyers.