Plaintiffs: Court ruling upholds due process

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FORMER assistant police commissioner human resources Sylvester Kalaut and former acting deputy commissioner operations Fred Yakasa say court rulings that nullified Police Commissioner David Manning’s appointment was all about upholding due process in appointments.
The National Court in Waigani ruled on Friday that Comm Manning’s appointment as secretary for the Police Department and the commissioner was unlawful since he did not possess a tertiary qualification (degree).
They had argued that the prerequisite for appointment of any departmental head, including the secretary for the Department of Police (but not for appointment as Commissioner of Police), a candidate must possess tertiary qualifications which was upheld.
During 2019, applications were invited for the positions of commissioner and secretary on the basis that the successful applicant would be appointed to both positions.
“We have come to this court not because of anything else but because we wanted to uphold the process,” Kalaut said.
“If we talk about upholding the process, let’s go by it and appoint on merit and the process.
“I’ve got nothing against Commissioner Manning but it is the process that I was aggrieved with (Fred) Yakasa and we came before the court and the decision has been reached and we expect the National Executive Council (NEC) to correct what was not done properly. Maybe it’s a flaw, but to correct it and so long as we don’t repeat the same mistake in the future.
“Yakasa and I have become victims but we have to correct it for the greater good of this country, Papua New Guinea.”
Yakasa said: “This battle is not about the guy (Manning) in the office, it’s about the process. I’ve fought one or two more fights like this in the past.”
He said the rule of law must always be heeded in the country.
“Where we go from here, it’s something that’s left for the NEC to decide and whether it’s Kalaut or it’s me or it’s somebody else, does not really matter. It’s about correcting the process,” he said.
Yakasa said that members of the police should remain neutral until a new commissioner assumed office.
“That’s up to the Government to do it but every rank and file should be busy at their own allocated duties and responsibilities and carry on as normal,” he said.