By CHARLES MOI
THE Supreme Court is concerned about the Governor-General’s delay to act on a decision by a Leadership Tribunal which recommended that North Fly MP Boka Kondra be dismissed from office.
Justice George Manuhu, Justice Allen David and Justice Hitelai Polume Kiele raised the concern in Waigani yesterday after presiding over a stay application filed by Kondra.
Kondra sought to stay the tribunal’s recommendation to dismiss him from office pending his appeal in the Supreme Court.
Kondra also asked the court to stay a National Court decision delivered on March 1, which dismissed his judicial review application to challenge the tribunal’s decision.
He named the tribunal members Justice Salatiel Lenalia and magistrates Ignatius Kurei and Rosie Johnson and the State as respondents in the case.
Manuhu told lawyer William Hagahuno representing the tribunal members that he was concerned that the Governor-General was slow to act on the tribunal’s recommendation.
Manuhu said the Governor-General should act promptly, as the tribunal’s decision was only a recommendation which the Governor-General was obliged to act on.
Kiele asked Hagahuno if there was a time-frame for the Governor-General to act on the tribunal’s recommendation.
Hagahuno said he could not assist the court on the issue of a time-frame but said it was in the public’s interest that the Governor-General should not delay in his decision.
Hagahuno objected to the stay application because Kondra’s integrity as an MP had been called into question by the decision of the tribunal and the National Court.
He said it was undesirable that a leader who allegedly betrayed the trust of the people continued to remain in office. He added that the stay application was not in the interest of the public.
Kondra’s lawyer Ian Molloy told the Court that the balance of convenience and the overall interest of justice favoured the stay order to be granted.
Molloy explained that Kondra’s appeal would be futile without a stay order in the event that the Governor-General did make a decision on the tribunal’s recommendation.
Molloy told the court that there would no prejudice to the tribunal and the State if the stay was granted.
He added that Kondra had an arguable case in his appeal because the State did not establish that Kondra intentionally misapplied public funds.
He said Kondra’s appeal was ready to be heard before the next available Supreme Court sitting because all the necessary documents had been filed.
Kondra, aggrieved by the Tribunal’s decision to convict him last April for Constitutional breaches under the Leadership Code and misapplication of public funds, filed judicial review proceedings in the National Court. The tribunal in its decision on penalty recommended to the Governor-General that Kondra be dismissed from office.
On March 1, Justice Colin Makail who presided in the National Court, dismissed Kondra’s judicial review case.
By CHARLES MOI