Grand Chief condemns ‘shameless act’

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 11th November 2011

GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare yesterday condemned the government’s decision to suspend the chief justice
“It pains me greatly that this unprecedented action is being taken when the full bench of the Supreme Court is deciding on one of the most important constitutional issues to face this country,” he said in a media statement.
“Because due processes have not been followed, I doubt if any fair minded citizen would believe the NEC accusation that Sir Salamo Injia has been guilty of any wrongdoing.
“Most members of the public would be well aware that I was closely involved with the drafting of the PNG Constitution, along with other leaders of the day, such as Bougainville President John Momis.
“This is a shameless action taken at the conclusion  of hearings by the full bench of the Supreme Court on the legality of the Aug 2 parliamentary coup and the Sept 6 declaration of a vacancy for the East Sepik Regional seat. I held that seat for an uninterrupted period of 43 years.”
Sir Michael said the public would be well aware of the string of decisions taken by the O’Neill-Namah government to give themselves a pretence of legitimacy.
“You  will recall they first tried very hard to stop me from returning from Singapore so my East Sepik seat could be declared vacant on grounds I had missed three consecutive sittings of parliament.
“Then the national government threatened the use of force to get the East Sepik provincial government to withdraw its special reference to the Supreme Court, acting in contempt of proceedings that were already under way.
“Now, in a third untoward action, the government is for the very first time in our history trying to impugn the integrity of our judiciary and the judicial system.
“I categorically condemn these actions.”