Super tax case to proceed


THE Supreme Court will proceed with a case filed by Opposition Leader Belden Namah to have the super tax charged by the State on two major companies declared unconstitutional.
Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, Justice David Cannings and Justice Daniel Liosi ruled yesterday that there were no issues with granting a standing order on the application by Namah as he remained the Opposition Leader until the return of writs on Aug 12.
“The applicant (Namah) is granted standing to bring this matter for hearing in court,” Sir Gibbs said.
He added that Namah was also a citizen with a genuine political concern about the matter, and that he was the current leader of the opposition and took care of the public office.
Namah’s lawyer Greg Sheppard said Namah was the opposition leader and expected to raise issues of concern at the national level.
“There are number of constitutional provisions that need interpretation as stated by Namah,” he said. Sheppard said Namah had sufficient standing as the opposition leader to hold the government accountable for its actions and decisions which would affect taxpayers.
Sheppard also suggested that there should be a consolidated proceeding on the matter as it was similar to the cases filed by the Bank of South Pacific Financial Group Ltd (BSP) and Digicel.
However, a State lawyer from the Attorney-General’s Office said BSP had filed several cases.
Judge Cannings also told Sheppard that the application by Digicel PNG was withdrawn on Tuesday.
The State lawyer pointed out that Namah’s case was similar to the application filed by BSP, so there was a duplicity in the application.
“The court should not allow this application to proceed for the reason that the application is identical to BSP and if the court wishes to bring forward this application, the court should consider and consolidate the two proceedings to prevent the Supreme Court from duplication,” he said.