JULIA DAIA BORE
THE Fly River provincial government yesterday urged the Supreme Court to immediately abolish the “unconstitutional” Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC).
Western province Governor Dr Bob Danaya has described the law as “a tool for dictatorship in Papua New Guinea”.
Loani Henao, counsel for Dr Danaya and his government, said in a submission to the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, said the law “severely restricted the democratic rights and movements of current MPs from resigning from a political party because to do so was a serious offence.”
The law treated the act as “misconduct in office” and the MP concerned could be referred to a leadership tribunal for prosecution, Mr Henao said.
Likewise, once the MP was endorsed by a political party and had voted in favour of the new Prime Minister after general elections, he or she is prohibited from exercising their independence according to his or her own conscience, or in the best interest of their constituency.
Mr Henao submitted that this, in essence, prohibited the MPs from exercising their democratic right to choose and make decisions.
He said the Organic Law was “leaning towards dictatorship in the country” and, therefore, should be repealed or abolished.
He said the OLIPPAC 2003 was “unconstitutional” and should be voided by the Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika and senior judges Bernard Sakora, Nicholas Kirriwom and Les Gavera-Nanu.
Prior to the substantive hearing of the reference by the Fly River provincial government yesterday, a preliminary matter was taken up.
The preliminary matter involved whether or not certain supporting affidavits by some senior Opposition MPs in support of the argument put forth by the referrer should be included as important factual materials in the court proceedings.
Private lawyer Alois Jerewai, representing Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and the National Executive Council (NEC) and the Integrity of Political Parties Commission, argued that the affidavits should not be taken as factual evidence by the court.
This was opposed by Mr Henao, who insisted that the affidavits by Opposition MPs including its leader Sir Mekere Morauata and Morobe MP Bart Philemon to support the affidavits of Dr Danaya were of vital factual relevance to the entire proceedings.
The court took a half hour break and returned to rule that the court would accept all the affidavits as evidence in the current proceedings.
The hearing continues today.