Lawyer questions court’s authority

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The National,Friday June 17th, 2016

A lawyer has questioned the Supreme Court on whether it has the jurisdiction to restrain a lawful administrative body from performing its duties.
Chief Inspector Bernard Nepo’s lawyer Waliyo Mapiso said yesterday that the court should not interfere with the powers of a lawful administrative body.
Justice George Manuhu, presiding alongside Justice Allan David and Justice Hitelai Polume-Kiele, said it was not for the court to deal with administrative processes.
Manuhu said the court dealt with matters based on law.
The comments stemmed from an application moved by Correctional Services commissioner Michael Waipo yesterday.
Waipo was seeking interim orders to restrain the national executive council (NEC), Correctional Services Minister Jimmy Simatab, ministerial executive appointments committee and Nepo from interfering with his reinstatement by the national court pending the outcome of Nepo’s appeal.
Waipo also sought orders to dismiss Nepo’s application to stay a national court decision which reinstated Waipo as commissioner, and for Nepo to pay K100,000 as security for the cost of the appeal.
Waipo’s lawyer Michael Koimo submitted that the court should grant the orders to maintain status quo and allow Waipo to perform his duties as commissioner pending the appeal.
Koimo said this was because Simatab had written a letter on May 26 to start  disciplinary action against Waipo on allegations of poor performance.
He submitted that Nepo had no right to file the appeal or seek stay of the National Court decision because his acting appointment had lapsed on May 9.
Nepo, through his lawyer Mapiso, submitted that he had served in the force for 31 years and had the experience to be commissioner.
Mapiso said Waipo would turn 60 on August 24  and be “automatically removed” from the office after reaching his compulsory retirement age.
He said according to Section 12 (2) of the Correctional Services Act 1995, there was no discretion for the NEC to extend the appointment of Waipo when he reached his compulsory retirement age.
The court is expected to give its decision on Thursday.