Today, Sam Koim, of Task Force Sweep, made an application to the Supreme Court to discontinue his appeal. The appeal was against the decision of Justice Colin Makail in the National Court that dismissed the judicial review of the disbanding of Task Force Sweep.
In finally accepting judicial defeat, and after three long years of court battles, Koim, nevertheless still sought to maintain control by asking the courts to direct the government and its agencies, by order, to surrender all Task Force Sweep’s files to line agencies and the Fraud Squad.
While the discontinuation was granted, the order to surrender the files, according to Koim’s direction, was refused.
This effectively puts control of the of the country’s disciplinary forces back where they belong – with the duly elected government of the day.
Therefore, the NEC’s 2014 decision to set up an interim office of ICAC under the direction of retired judge Graham Ellis now stands. I expect that the new office will take custody of those files forthwith and PNG will be welcoming the Judge back to its shores.
Attorney General, Ano Pala, has today had the warrant of arrest, extant since July 2014, quashed by a unanimous three-man bench of the Supreme Court – consisting of Justices Higgins, Sawong and Batari.
The warrant had been sworn out by Magistrate Cosmas Bidar at the behest of Police Officer, Matthew Damaru.
The charge leveled was ‘defeating the course of justice’ in conspiracy with others including the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Geoffrey Vaki and their respective counsels notwithstanding that most of these people were not a party to the proceedings at the time. The quashing of the arrest warrant means that the conspiracy charges are also not recognised.
Pala’s alleged sin, in the eyes of Detective Chief Superintendent Damaru, was to apply for the State to be joined to a matter wherein the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister had filed proceedings to legitimize (or not) bills paid by the state to Paul Paraka Lawyers by way of a declaration of taxation.
This is a most important question because if the Paraka bills are legitimate then no offence has been committed.
It is a way of getting to the truth – proof of a crime should be at the very beginning of an investigation (clearly no one has told this to Task-Force Sweep or the Fraud Squad.)
The truth is something that Police Officer, Matthew Damaru patently did not want to get in the way of a good witch hunt
I mean, how could trying to ascertain the truth be an attempt to defeat the course of justice?
Indeed, the three learned judges ascertained that Pala’s filing of proceedings
…is an act incapable of being a criminal act.
Further, they emphasized their ruling was timely (and lucky for some) as had Pala been arrested and denied his liberty, he would have had ample cause for redress.
With this decision, the Supreme Court overruled the previous decision of Justice Colin Makail in the National Court that dismissed Pala’s petition saying he had no standing to bring proceedings until after he was arrested.
Think about it: what’s the point of trying to quash an arrest warrant after its already been effected? But that’s what Justice Makail, in his wisdom decided – yes it baffles me too.
But it was not only that the charges were specious that caught the attention of the learned Judges but also the manner in which the arrest warrant was effected.
The faulty warrant
The Judges maintained that
…the warrant ha[d] received such little attention that the learned magistrate [Bidar] did not even choose whether the subject was “him or “her”.
The judgment went on:
It does not appear that any grounds were suggested to the magistrate… [although] …[t]he need to consider alternative grounds is mandatory.
Yet, even had the magistrate considered the grounds (which the bench found he hadn’t) apparently ”
None of the grounds for considering arrest referred to…could reasonably have been believed to justify the arrest of the applicant.
And so the witch hunt continues.
This is the second ruling this week that has found that the actions of the Fraud Squad have been cavalier.
For two years the Attorney General has had this charge hanging over his head – just because he lawfully sought the truth.
And then there’s the Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Mr Aloysius Hamou – described by all his work colleagues as a true and faithful public servant – who was sacrificed to the zealotry of these rogue elements in the Police Force who have become a law unto themselves.
He was also exonerated, found to be only doing his job in the purchase of the Israeli turbines matter – in fact, had he not obeyed the lawful directive from the NEC he would have been up on disciplinary charges.
I’m told Mr Hamou doesn’t enjoy the best of health, this episode, for an honest, fine and upstanding man, such as he, must have added a considerable amount of stress to his life, not to mention the loss of reputation.
The accosting and arrest of lawyer, Tiffany Twivey, at Jacksons Airport, yesterday, is a considerable blight on every law enforcement officer in Papua New Guinea by association with senior but rogue police officers, Damaru and Gitua and the Machiavellian, Sam Koim.
When around 10 plain-clothes police started shouting aggressively at Twivey after she’d exited the arrivals hall of Jacksons Airport, she had no idea why they were shouting for her to get into their car.
Twivey’s 85-year-old mother, frail and fragile, was travelling with her and she was confused, upset and frightened as she watched her daughter being manhandled into the car. But the police were determined not to let an old lady’s distress distract them from their zeal and would not let Twivey go back to speak with her mother.
…they were shouting, “get into the car – get into the car” aggressively
It was only good fortune that Twivey’s driver was there to rescue her frail, confused and frightened mother – for Christian decency was not the order of the day with the police officers.
Twivey is a lawyer, she knows her rights and when she asked why the police wanted her to come with them, as she was not under arrest – the police officer replied that she was although ABC Australia was informed that she wasn’t.
…they were grabbing my arms and trying to shove me into the car – and I have bruises,
So what were Twivey’s sins that she was arrested and manhandled in this ignominious fashion?
It’s simple, her client is the Prime Minister and he has been targeted by anti-government forces led by police officers Damaru and Gitua, spearheaded by the former head of Task Force Sweep. – the anti-corruption fighter that has some of his own explaining to do, Sam Koim.
And explaining he would have been:
I was to cross examine Sam Koim and examine McRonald Nale on the source of the private funding of the policemen and Sam Koim for the past two years,
wrote Ms Twivey in a statement.
She says that the timing is not lost on her, for instead of appearing in the National Court on behalf of the Prime Minister – with Koim uncomfortably on the stand under her cross examination, today she will be required to appear in the District Court defending herself.
Koim should be breathing a sigh of relief, it would take considerable arrogance to deliberately lie on the stand, wouldn’t it? Within the next few hours we would have known who has been behind all of these vexatious arrests – who’d been bankrolling the zealotry. Serendipity or a deliberate ploy?
For as Twivey asked:
Why couldn’t they come to my office? I’ve been in the same office for 5 years/ same apartment?
Ms Twivey was also at pains to point out that when Justice Kirriwom referred her and lawyer Sam Bonner to the Law Society, he did so on an incorrect premise of which Damaru and Gitua were well aware. It seems that this was what the arrest was all about.
These policemen did not object or make any submissions against my appeal In the Supreme Court against referral to the Law Society as they knew Kirriwom J had got the facts wrong, and yet they now initiate a criminal process,
she asks, incredulously?
Which brings me to Justice Bernard Sakora, why was he, at this very point in time, being arrested for something that allegedly occurred in 2009 and which the likes of Task Force Sweep, under the guidance of Sam Koim, had known about for 6 years? What took them so long?
Well there IS that timing thing again that Ms Twivey remarked upon…and it’s no surprise that driving the arrest were police officers Damaru and Gitua.
How many such cases has Task Force Sweep been keeping to themselves and for how many years…and why? To what avail?
Sakora is alleged to have taken a bribe from lawyer under investigation, Paul Paraka. Although the alleged bribe has been explained by Justice Sakora as the sale of a car, the explanation is not good enough for Damaru who alleges that Sakora should have declared the transaction when he presided over cases they were involved in.
However, as in Twivey’s case, he did not raise any objection in court, which would have been the appropriate time.
One commentator believes that this could be a thinly-veiled attempt to get Sakora off the bench – just as the motive for the Prime Minister’s arrest seems to be to get him to step down. Sakora has found for the Prime Minister lately, which is likely, his sin.
Someone suggested to me that this could be viewed as an ominous ‘warning’ to others not to cross them (Damaru, Koim Gitua) – be they lawyers, politicians or judges.
I wonder how much ‘dirt’ the files of Task Force Sweep contain, on whom and when these will see the light of day? It’s all in the timing, I guess.
What do you call a nation/state controlled by corrupt zealots and rogues who are answerable to no one and whose tools include vexatious arrest and blackmail? Just asking.
Rulings handed down today today by a full bench of the Supreme Court (Justices Hartshorn, Sawong and Makail) have dismissed an objection by Police Officers Gitua and Damaru to an appeal by Minister James Marape arising from a National Court decision and have, furthermore, reversed a ruling of single-sitting Supreme Court Judge, Justice Kirriwom, thus upholding the appeal of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Minister James Marape and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
In the first-mentioned matter, an appeal had been lodged against the National Court’s ruling that refused an application by government and police lawyers for interlocutory orders by consent, restraining police from arresting Minister Marape and the Prime Minister.
Messrs Gitua and Damaru were objecting to the competency of the appeal.
A full bench of the Supreme Court ruled:
In our view all of the objections of the objectors’ [Damaru and Gitua] do not question this court’s jurisdiction to hear the appeal and do not go to the competency of the appeal but rather questions as to the merits of the appeal. Consequently the objection to competency should be dismissed.
In the second matter, the appeal was against Justice Kirriwom’s ruling that police officer’s Gitua and Damaru should be allowed to choose and engage their preferred counsel – in this case, Jema Lawyers and barrister Greg Egan.
The court determined that as police officers, Damaru and Gitua were required to obtain approval from the Attorney General to engage lawyers to act on their behalf in this proceeding and that Justice Kirriwom had erred in drawing the opposing conclusion.
An interim order restraining the police officers from engaging or instructing lawyers was granted and it was ordered that each party (both the Attorney General and the police officers) make the applications and appointments necessary for legal representation of Damaru and Gitua in this matter.
In both cases costs were awarded against Damaru and Gitua.
A motion brought before the National Court by the Prime Minister for Sam Koim, to ‘show cause why he should not be charged with contempt’ for allegedly disobeying a court order restraining him discussing matters before the courts in regards to Task Force Sweep has been dismissed by Justice Colin Makail today.
The learned Judge said that there were only two ways to proceed with contempt charges and that was for the courts to bring the charges or for one party to bring the charges against another – to ask a party to ‘show cause’ was a procedural error and Justice Makail ruled the motion as “incompetent” and dismissed it.
However, the Judge advised that it was open for the Prime Minister and the NEC to charge Koim with contempt and lawyer for the Prime Minister, Ms Tiffany Twivey, advised, in open court this morning, (Tuesday 23 Feb.) the intention of her client to do so.
Justice Makail, in making his ruling, dismissed the case purely on a procedural hiccough without considering the merits of the contempt allegations.
It is expected that the charges will be filed within the next week.
The Supreme Court, presided over by Justice Bernard Sakora, has today (23 February 2016) granted both appeals brought before the court by Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.
The Prime Minister, represented by Twivey Lawyers and Mal Varitimos QC, had firstly sought leave to appeal the decision of Justice Colin Makail in the National Court where previously, Justice Makail had granted leave for police officers, Timothy Gitua and Matthew Damaru, to join as parties to National Court judicial review proceedings challenging the decision of the Chief Magistrate, Ms Nerrie Eliakim, to issue an arrest warrant against the Prime Minister.
They were granted leave to appeal the joining by the learned Judge.
Following on from his decision to grant this leave, Justice Sakora ordered a stay on the hearing of the issue of the arrest warrant until the appeal against the joining of the parties was settled.
The learned Judge delivered his decision verbally in court and instructed the lawyers to take out orders immediately to effect the stay on the National Court proceedings.
Justice Sakora’s written decision will be available tomorrow and it is expected that, on receiving the orders, Justice Makail will vacate the court date set aside of March 3 when the judicial review on the Prime Minister’s arrest warrant was, just this morning, set down for a mention.
National Courts, Waigani, 18 July, 2014
The current arrest warrant on Prime Minister, O’Neill, has been stayed pending the hearing and determination of a Supreme Court reference.
This morning, Justice Gavara-Nanu after hearing arguments on behalf of the State, the Police and the Prime Minister, granted leave for Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill to judicially review the decision of the Chief Magistrate.
Chief Magistrate, Ms. Nerrie Eliakim, yesterday (July 4, 2014), dismissed an application from police to set aside an arrest warrant for the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, in the Committal Court, Waigani.
The decision of Ms Eliakim who is believed to be close to former Justice Minister and Attorney General, Kerenga Kua, will seriously undermine the authority of the newly-appointed Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki and police powers.
Stated under S197 (2) of the Constitution is that the functions of the police are not only to lay and prosecute charges but also withdraw them
As it now stands, the Police Commissioner has lost his authority.
How can a police force operate effectively while subordinates are being encouraged by the courts to ignore directives from their Commissioner, who wants the arrest warrant withdrawn?
Under the circumstances, it is to be expected that the Police Commissioner will appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court, lawyers for the Prime Minister have lodged an urgent appeal against the decision of the National Court whereby the Prime Minister’s application for a stay of the arrest warrant was also dismissed.
The decision being appealed was contraindicated when all parties agreed to the stay – the court didn’t.
However, in handing down the decision Judge Kariko also affirmed the Police Commissioner’s authority over the police force – which Magistrate Eliakim’s subsequent ruling in a lower court has undermined.
The Supreme Court has adjourned the PMs appeal until the end of next week while Ms Eliakim’s written decision will be made available on Monday 7 July…and look out for the anticipated appeal of the Police Commissioner who seems in no hurry to arrest the Prime Minister.
In the meantime the police force must be in complete disarray with no one knowing from whom they take orders.
In fact, so good were his cards that he had that very rare commodity in a card game – a ‘lay-down misère’.
A lay-down misère is a hand so good that it is played in full view of the other players with no risk. It’s brazen and it’s shamelessly triumphant.
However, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Prime Minister may have ‘stacked the deck’ by removing all the opponent’s trumps (Sam Koim, ITFS, Thomas Eluh, Kerenga Kua…) with one of the last being dissenting Solicitor-General, Ms Jubilee Tindiwi.
Noel Anjo Kolao and Sonja Barry Ramoi have been unsuccessful in their bid to have the PNG courts disqualify lawyer, Tiffany Twivey-Nonggorr and her law firm Twivey Lawyers from representing the Prime Minister in his defamation suit against the two self-styled activists with strong links to the Opposition Leader.
Justice Kandakasi handed down the decision last Monday in an on-the-spot decision at the National Court, Waigani that saw Anjo in attendance but Ramoi absent.