By PNG Echo.
Minister James Marape has today (Tuesday 9 April 2016) had his appeal dismissed unanimously by a three-man bench of the Supreme Court (Justices Hartshorn, Makail and Sawong).
The news was broken on social media and anti-government forces are hailing this latest Supreme Court decision as a David-and-Goliath type victory for the renegade police officers (Damaru and Gitua) with the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance said to have been “trashed” (sic) by the Supreme Court (even with their expensive QCs),.
But the truth of the matter is that the decision is on a procedural matter and is generally insignificant except for one major consequence.
The most far-reaching consequence of the dismissed appeal is that it also served to lift the blanket stay of any arrest warrant (on any matter) for Minister Marape, the Prime Minister and their lawyers etc.
However, the Prime Minister, in a press statement released today, after the decision of the Supreme Court in the Marape case, reminded us that:
The case relating to legal fees for the Paraka matter remains outstanding before the court through a judicial review by Senior Judge, Justice Bernard Sakora, which also reaffirmed that the warrant of arrest be stayed until the judicial review is heard.
In other words, there is still a stay on the arrest warrant for the Prime Minister in the Paraka matter and that is a significant because an arrest is all that the anti-government forces have on their mind and their agenda.
This is war
So, while a small battle has been won today, the war continues unabated – and make no mistake, for democracy, it is important that the Prime Minister wins.
For all the proceedings have base political motivations, where the only goal is to have the Prime Minister arrested so that he is forced to step down from office. There is no discernible aim beyond this. Indeed, all the proposed (aborted and abortive) protest rallies have this as their only objective. Why?
In reality, it is known that any charges against the Prime Minister are unlikely to be proved – but that doesn’t matter – the damage would have been done by then, their goal effected. But there would be far-reaching ramifications -not only to this current Prime Minister but all those that follow him.
In today’s press release the Prime Minister had this to say
As the serving Prime Minister of the day, I cannot allow a precedent to be set that will render future Governments weak and ineffective. Once a precedent is set then we know every future Government will become bogged down by malicious attempts to pursue arrest warrants by people outside the Parliament, simply for the reason of attracting media attention and applying political pressure.
To all those who ask time and time again why the Prime Minister does not “submit” himself to the courts, I think that question is now asked and answered.
The Prime Minister, in the aforementioned press statement, reiterated his confidence in the courts of PNG (whereas, on the other hand, I’m not nearly so confident) but stated he will not submit himself to the malicious and rogue attempts to use law enforcement as a political weapon.
That’s a response from a strong and responsible leader.
Every government inherits that which went before, sometimes it’s a golden chalice, sometimes the chalice is poisonous. The Prime Minister “inherited” the Paraka situation and he rightly states:|
The issues at the centre of this matter occurred before I was Prime Minster. Pursuing me on this matter is nothing but an attempt to influence politics from outside the Parliament and to undermine the authority of the Office of the Prime Minister, and the stability of the national government.
So, let’s clear away the debris and look at the real issues of this case and the reasons for the attempts to implicate the Prime Minister.
For also in the press statement the Prime Minister said:
We all know who are the real financial beneficiaries of the Paraka transactions, and only time will tell when these identities will be revealed. I look forward to the facts seeing the light of day on this issue.
Last week, in parliament, the Prime Minister named Don Polye and the THE party as two of the financial beneficiaries. He has also stated that the evidence is with the police – perhaps this may be worth the self-proclaimed, misnamed ‘anti-corruption’ forces pursuing before they finish their ‘dance of joy’ over this small and insignificant victory.
This pursuit of the Prime Minister is nothing like a ‘David and Goliath’ battle for David was on the side of righteousness – this is more like a sniper attack on the fabric of democracy in PNG.