PM sticks by his deputy

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The National, Wednesday 16th November 2011

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill said allegations raised against the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia leading to his suspension would be left to the bureaucracy to pursue.
Arriving back from Hawaii where he was attending an Apec meeting, the prime minister commended the “courageous decision” of his deputy prime minister Belden Namah for both the decision to suspend the chief justice last Thursday and to rescind it on Monday.
O’Neill said: “The government stands together on this decision in the best interest of the country.
“We have pledged to the nation that we will make decisions without fear or favour.
“Whether it is the prime minister or the deputy prime minister or any minister … nobody is above the law.”
He said the matters arising which led to the suspension of the CJ and the appointment of a tribunal were the end result of bureaucratic processes that had been pending government action for a while.
The matter would now be referred back to the bureaucracy and placed with the auditor-general and the Ombudsman
Commission to pursue, O’Neill said.
He said cabinet had been advised that the matters leading to the suspension of the chief justice and the special supreme court reference by the East Sepik provincial government were not related.
“Many of the issues are very important and have been referred back to the bureaucracy.
“We will allow due process to take its course.”
The prime minister said he was also advised not to comment on the Supreme Court reference or speculate on any outcome.
He joked that every time he was out of the country something “exciting happens” and pledged that he would take no more trips or attend to overseas commitments.