Witness says MP interfered

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By BOURA GORUKILA
A WITNESS for the Public Prosecutor has told the tribunal inquiring into allegations of misconduct in office against Telefomin MP and Minister for Defence Solan Mirisim that there was interference by him on the selection and appointment of the Defence secretary.
Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen, when cross-examined by Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin, said Mirisim did interfere with the process of the appointment.
“In 2013-2014, a parliament-enacted law came in to do away with the Ombudsman Commission’s process involving appointments and came up with a process where ministers responsible for each department, come up with a shortlisted names of candidates, and furnish to the Department of Personal Management (DPM),” Pagen said.
“DPM then prepares the submission and sends it the National Executive Council to appoint the candidate.”
Pagen said there were allegations raised that Mirisim wrote a letter dated Nov 29, 2017, to the DPM to revoke its submissions to the NEC.
“While DPM was to send the list of shortlisted names to the NEC, Ombudsman Commission referred the preferred candidate who was the acting secretary to the public prosecutor, Mirisim wrote to the DPM to revoke the submissions to NEC who would consider and make the appointment,” Pagen said. “So it’s that action by Mirisim, who was Minister for Defence, writing to DPM to revoke making the submission to NEC is interfering in the process of another ministry, which is DPM.”
Pagen said there was evidence of two letters by Mirisim to the Department of Personnel Management and the Public Service minister dated Nov 29, 2017, and Jan 16, 2018.
Those letters were not enclosed in the statement of reasons, however, they were with the Ombudsman Commission but could be produced to the tribunal if asked to.
Kaluwin then made an application for the tribunal to issue a direction for Pagen to produce the two letters (documents) that he was referring to, pursuant to sections 21 and 29 of the Organic law.
Mirisim’s lawyer Greg Sheppard opposed to the application, saying the tendering of documents not enclosed in the statement of reasons would not be consistent with the rules of natural justice pursuant to section 27 of the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership.
Chairman of the tribunal Justice Les Gavara-Nanu said that was a matter that needed careful consideration. The tribunal was adjourned to today for the tribunal to rule on Kaluwin’s application.

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