By Demas Tien
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill moved an application in the Supreme Court yesterday seeking orders to restrain the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate director Mathew Damaru and his deputy Timothy Gitua from engaging private lawyers.
O’Neill’s lawyer Mal Varitimos QC told the court, presided by Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, Justice Derek Hartshorn and Justice Stephen Kassman, that Damaru and Gitua were agents of the State and they needed approval from the attorney-general for their legal representation.
Varitimos submitted that the issue of legal representation for Damaru and Gitua had been challenged by Finance Minister James Marape and the court granted an interim order on Feb 24 restraining them from engaging Jema Lawyers and overseas lawyer Greg Egan or any other lawyer from representing them until further orders by the court.
Varitimos said Damaru and Gitua had ignored the court’s decision by continuing to engage Jema Lawyers, Egan and Terry Lambert, in other proceedings.
Lawyers Ian Molloy, Greg Sheppard and Ralph Saulep supported O’Neill’s application.
Molly represented Police commissioner Gari Baki, Sheppard represented former commissioner Geoffrey Vaki and Saulep represented Attorney-General Ano Pala.
Lambert, representing Damaru and Gitua, submitted that the interim order in Marape’s appeal specifically applied to the appeal and not to other proceedings.
Lambert said according to the principles of law, a citizen had the right to a lawyer.
By Demas Tien