Sir Michael accuses faction of high-level corruption

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The National, Thursday 15th December 2011

EAST Sepik MP Sir Michael Somare says defiance of the Supreme Court order was corruption at the highest level.
He called on the faction led by Peter O’Neill and Belden Namah to respect the letter and spirit of the Supreme Court order of Dec 12 to ensure the rule of law remained supreme in Papua New Guinea.
Sir Michael said the continuing lack of respect for the Supreme Court order was an aberration of the constitutional history and did not augur well for the future of the country.
“I have never seen such outrageous conduct by duly elected members of parliament,” he said.
“My government was constitutionally formed and elected by the people and was constitutionally restored by the courts, which ruled that it was illegally removed.”
He said the decision and orders had been upheld by the court and his government was constitutionally compliant.
“The rule of law must be respected by all members of the three separate arms of government if we are to remain a true democracy,” he said.
“We survived 36 years within the framework of our Constitution and our parliament is not there to be manipulated by lawless MPs for their own preservation.”
He said one arm of the government was not superior to the next and leaders must act within the confines of the Constitution.
“The action to amend laws for self-preservation worries me as it was not in the best interest of the nation,” he said.
“It is corruption at the highest level.”
He condemned the actions taken by the O’Neill-Namah regime in light of the Dec 12 court decision as highly contemptuous and regrettable.
Madang MP Sir Arnold Amet said legal advice would be sought to prosecute members of the O’Neill-Namah regime and charge them with contempt for defying the Dec 12 Supreme Court ruling.
He said the Constitution was supreme, and not parliament.
“The Constitution and the law are supreme and must be adhered to,” Sir Arnold said.
Nipa-Kutubu MP Philemon Embel said they had advised the speaker of parliament to make room for them to take their “government” seats in parliament.
“Their majority number is irrelevant if they are not abiding by the Constitution and laws of the land,” Embel said.