Ombudsman’s Powers to be decided by Supreme Court.

By PNG Echo

Plaintiff: PM, O'Neill.  Application upheld
Plaintiff: PM, O’Neill. Application upheld

Plaintiffs, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and Acting Secretary of Treasury, Mr Dairi Vele had their application to the National Court upheld today at Waigani.

The application was pertaining to a loan acquired by government to purchase Oilsearch shares – a situation that gave rise to certain directions by the defendants, the Ombudsman’s Commission (OC ) whose constitutionality remain in dispute.

Earlier this year, proceedings were instigated for a judicial review of the Ombudsman Commission directions to stop payments on said loan

The National Court, at that time, stayed the directions of the OC in order that repayments were able to be met and the government’s obligations under the loan honoured. This was pending an application for a judicial review.

Plaintiff, Acting Secretary of Treasury, Dairi Vele
Plaintiff, Acting Secretary of Treasury, Dairi Vele

Today, the judicial review was stayed in its entirety and all the questions asked by the lawyers for the plaintiffs referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

Amongst the matters to be decided by the Supreme Court are whether the OC has legal authority, power and jurisdiction to issue a notice of direction to government, whether failure to comply with such a notice constitutes misconduct in office and whether the OC has the power, authority and jurisdiction to impose penalties

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