Judge dismisses proceeding

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A JUDGE has dismissed a proceeding concerning the functions of the office of the managing director of PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) and the National Forest board (plaintiffs) for disclosing no reasonable cause of action and awarded costs in favour of the State. Justice Ere Kariko, at the National Court on Friday, said that the proceeding was an abuse of process because PNGFA managing director Tunou Sabuin had no standing to issue the proceedings. “Although Sabuin insisted that he was still MD, he was not,” he said. Sabuin and the National Forest board sought declaratory orders that his appointment as managing director was still current and valid; the services rendered by him did not count as service in the public service; his four-year appointment was not void; his appointment by the board on March 18 was valid and current, and; Ken Mondiai’s membership on the board and his position as deputy chairman was valid and current.
Justice Kariko said a claim by Sabuin that he was still the managing director according to law and a claim by Mondiai that there was interference with the board were for Sabuin’s own interest. “He essentially claimed that upon the construction and application of a number of relevant legislative provisions, he was still the MD notwithstanding the facts that the four-year term stated by NEC (National Executive Council) had lapsed and that the legal process of appointing a successor is still in progress,” he said. “I find that there is no legal dispute between Sabuin, James Marape as chairman of NEC, Taies Sansan as acting secretary of DPM (Department of Personnel Management), Daniel Rolpagarea as State Solicitor, John Sugi as Minister for Public Service, NEC, Department of Justice and Attorney-General and the State (defendants) that requires the intervention of this court. “Accordingly the declarations should not be granted and I find this action is as abuse of process,” he said.