The week in review – Court

A leadership tribunal was appointed this week to investigate allegations of misconduct in office against a leader, amidst election petition cases going for directions hearing.

Acting Chief Justice, Sir Gibbs Salika, on Thursday announced the appointment of a new leadership tribunal to investigate Member for Vanimo-Green, Belden Namah.

The appointment follows a request made by the Public Prosecutor, Pondros Kaluwin, in his letter to the Chief Justice on November 8, 2016.


Two election cases were withdrawn this week from the Court of Disputed Returns at the Waigani National Court.

Former Speaker of parliament and Finschhafen MP, Theodore Zurenuoc, withdrew the petition he filed against current MP, Rainbo Paita.

The petition, also filed by runner-up in the Telefomin Open seat, Peter Iwei, against re-elected MP Solan Mirisin, was withdrawn.

These two petitions are among 77 filed in court.

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In other petition cases, two separate election petitions have been filed against Member for Esa'ala Open and Justice Minister, Davis Steven.

The petitions were filed by Glenn Tobewa and Professor Misty Baloiloi.

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To criminal court cases, the police officer who was arrested and charged for causing grievous bodily harm to the Director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Stanley Poga, from Mikin village in Chimbu’s Chuave district, was convicted by the Waigani National Court for what he did to Chief Supt Matthew Damaru on the morning of April 30, 2015.  

On that day, he stormed into Damaru's office without an appointment after he became upset with Damaru for opposing his application for a legal officer's position.

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And finally to the Supreme Court, developers and the state were reminded to ascertain customary land owners before proceeding with their activities on customary owned land.

What is happening in most cases is that, rather than taking this important crucial step, they choose to deal with persons who claim to be landowners when in fact, they may not be the true and correct landowners.

This was highlighted by a three-man Supreme Court bench recently when handing down a ruling on an appeal involving customary land owners of Abau in the Central Province and a logging company.

The full court dismissed an appeal, filed by logging giant Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Limited, against a National Court decision which ordered them to pay over K6 million in damage to the Moga clan of Loupom Island, in Abau district.

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Sally Pokiton