Namah to face Leadership Tribunal – big deal!

By PNG Echo

Having been one of Namah’s most vocal and abiding critics, one would think this writer would be celebrating Namah’s 14 August referral to the public prosecutor and the call for Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia to establish a Leadership Tribunal– but the time for rejoicing has long passed – this is too little, too late.

Too Little

oc-logoOf the dozen charges brought by the Ombudsman’s Commission, nine of them are money related, including non-declaration of assets and failing to submit returns. One charge is related to the storming of the Supreme Court and the attempted arrest of the Chief Justice, one for interfering with an administrative process and another for providing misleading information (Read: lying)

While all of these charges and allegations indicate a certain moral turpitude, ten of the charges revolve around money the other two around the exercise of power. Money and power: is this the main focus of the Ombudsman’s Commission?

Certainly the Commission has been afforded access to many other issues involving Namah, even via this writer, and while I have communicated with an officer from the Commission, who gave his undertaking to revert, he never did. That was many years ago, so much so that I’d almost forgotten – this latest salvo served to remind me.

It’s difficult to reconcile the fact that a Christian country that has just celebrated a ‘Day of Repentance’ can have such a strong focus on money and power while ignoring (negating?) other issues involving grossly offensive behaviour towards other human beings

Who can forget the Star Casino incident?
Who can forget the Star Casino incident?

Who can forget Namah’s behaviour at Sydney’s Star Casino?

A more secular country (Australia) was outraged enough to splash the incident across the front page of a leading Fairfax newspaper. Yet the Ombudsman’s Commission of Papua New Guinea, a Christian country (sorry to harp – but it needs emphasis) has seen fit not to find this ‘conduct unbecoming of a leader’ – well anyway, not yet.

And there’s more…I could go on, but what’s the point? It’s already…

…too late

One of the only things that this Leadership Tribunal will deliver is retribution. For the average PNGean this will mean absolutely nothing.

For while the Ombudsman’s Commission was leisurely contemplating Namah’s alleged sins, this dangerous politician, whose conduct was evidently and apparently unbecoming of a leader, was being taken down and neutralized by other forces – mainly political – and thank the Lord for them.

Thus the Ombudsman’s Commission becomes a paper tiger – too slow to expose conduct unbecoming of a leader so as to prevent any serious damage to the country that the promotion of that person into a position of (greater) authority could have wrought. They’ve merely closed the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia - the judiciary's fearsome leader
Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia – the judiciary’s fearsome leader

The only real winner in this latest twist to the Namah saga is going to be the judiciary.

For the Chief Justice the storming of his court was personal – it was a direct challenge to his power base.

If Namah is found guilty (Will it be members of the judiciary sitting on this Leadership Tribunal? I’ve heard tell many of them are in awe and fear of the ‘boss’.) it will re-establish the power of the judiciary in a country where charges of contempt of court seem to be legion and where these charges seem to be so often proven.

As for Namah, I don’t imagine him a phoenix that will rise from his own ashes, he’s just yesterday’s man – he’s given it his best shot and has come up wanting. I don’t think the final death thrust that will likely be delivered from the Leadership Tribunal is necessary to negate his influence, so it’s just retribution and I take no succour from that.

Forget Namah – Namah is Nomoh – hasn’t been for a while.

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Twivey’s referral to Law Society founded on a wrong premise.

By PNG Echo

Tiffany Twivey-Principal of Twivey Lawyers
Tiffany Twivey-Principal of Twivey Lawyers

When Judge Kirriwom today referred lawyer Tiffany Twivey to the Law Society for perverting the course of justice he did so on the premise that she had “…signed consent judgment setting aside the warrant of the arrest of Dairi Vele without notifying Detective Chief Inspector Gitua…” (page 30 – Judgment SCM No 87 of 2014).

This is not what she’d done.

Ms Twivey, in fact, signed on 29 July, in the District Court, a consent order for an adjournment that had been requested by the Commissioner of Police (as the warrant was short served).

At the same time she applied for an order staying the execution of the warrant for arrest on the Secretary of the Treasury, Dairi Vele, until the Inter Partes hearing that was set for 25th August. This merely served to maintain the status quo until then.

The fact that there had been a change of name from the original matter – one that had replaced Gitua with the Royal PNG Constabulary, the Judge saw as sinister – because removing Gitua as a party to the proceedings had kept him in the dark.

Well maybe – but not for long.

For on July 30, the day after the granting of the adjournment, Detective Chief Inspector Gitua was served with notice by Twivey – not of the setting aside of the warrant (as stated by Kirriwom) but of the adjournment and the temporary staying of the arrest warrant until August 25.

In his affidavit of 7 August, Chief Superintendent Damaru, indicated in paragraph 7, that he understood the stay order was a temporary measure leading up to the hearing on 25 August – however, the learned Judge seems to have believed (as stated – see first paragraph) that the warrant had been ‘set aside’ – suggesting something far more permanent.

Today (August 25) notwithstanding the ample notice, neither Gitua nor Damaru were present when the requested adjournment was granted (until 22 September). The adjournment was sought and granted due to the replacement of Sam Bonner as the counsel for the Commissioner of Police (with Nicholas Tame) giving time for the Police Commissioner to brief his new lawyers.

The adjournment gives Gitua another opportunity to present himself and his case to this hearing should he care to.

Commssioner of Police Gary Baki -
Commssioner of Police Gary Baki –

It must be noted that in all of these proceedings, the Police Commissioner has not indicated whether he will consent (or not) to the application made to stay the arrest warrant of Vele.

Under the circumstances, the criticism from the bench that: “He [the Commissioner of Police] has no qualms …in collaborating and cooperating with …Marape and Prime Minister O’Neill,” seems to be a trifle unfair.

Besides, this judgment completely ignores the Supreme Court Reference, five-man bench decision that says the Police Commissioner has the right to withdraw any warrant of arrest or the right to direct any officer to withdraw a warrant of arrest.

It is an option, that the Commissioner of Police; he who is accused of collaborating and cooperating with the Prime Minister and Finance Minister; has not even exercised.

Twivey was, in this matter, acting on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in the case against police officers Gitua and Damaru and their right to hire private lawyers. Sam Bonner, former counsel to the Commissioner of Police was also referred to the Law Society on the same matter.

Parties are appealing the decision.

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Smear Campaigns and dirty tactics: But who’s funding Koim’s litigation?

By PNG Echo

A concerted smear campaign against journalist Dr Susan Merrell
A concerted smear campaign against journalist Dr Susan Merrell

Smear campaigns always smack of desperation.   But a smear campaign against a journalist…? That must be the epitome of desperation.   But that’s what’s happened in PNG in the past week.

Certain anti-government forces have a near social media monopoly where they attempt to control and manipulate their followers with practises such as saturation, social engineering, audience packing and censorship of opposing opinions. The use of fake identities and the courting of the loony fringe are some of their other questionable tactics.

But to attack another journalist…? It’s a ham-fisted attempt at censorship of the media (other than themselves, that is). Their hypocrisy is palpable.

They cry foul at the thought that the medium they use should be regulated, they speak highly of ‘freedom of speech’ and their ‘rights’ not once acknowledging that anyone with an opinion contrary to theirs has any.

The catalyst for their smear campaign against me has been Sam Koim. My article has sent them into dirty-tactics overdrive. Continue reading Smear Campaigns and dirty tactics: But who’s funding Koim’s litigation?

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The incredible rise and fall of Sam Koim

By PNG Echo

Then…

Sam Koim - Dedicated corruption fighter or dangerous vigilante?
Sam Koim – Some say dedicated corruption fighter others think he’s a dangerous vigilante.

Sam Koim started his legal career, at the end of 2008, as an employed lawyer at the Office of the Solicitor General. He rose quickly (within three years) to national – even international – prominence.

Koim owes his meteoric rise, at least the start of it, to his friendship with Sam Basil.

Indeed it was Basil, then Minister for National Planning in the O’Neill/Namah government, who, in 2011, put in a submission to the NEC for the establishment of Task Force Sweep (TFS) with Koim at the helm.

At the time, Koim had only two years experience as a lawyer and no experience at all in criminal law: he had never prosecuted or defended a criminal charge – his experience was limited.

Sam Basil, backed Koim
Sam Basil, backed Koim

Under these circumstances it was a curious appointment by Basil who is now the deputy leader of the Parliamentary Opposition.

Koim when asked of Basil’s involvement with TFS stated:

He was involved with us when he was the Minister for National Planning overseeing the investigations. After that, I got nothing to do with him.

The track record of TFS

Paul Tienstien convicted by TFS of official corruption
Paul Tienstien convicted by TFS of official corruption

TFS, under Sam Koim has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases successfully including the conviction and incarceration of powerful politician Paul Tiensten. This notwithstanding, a legal expert has been scathingly critical of the performance of TFS: Continue reading The incredible rise and fall of Sam Koim

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