Ombudsman Commission

Ombudsman to inform court on next move

On Sept 2, a five-man Supreme Court bench found that the process involved in the referral of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for prosecution under the Leadership Code in relation to the K3 billion Union Bank of Switzerland loan was unconstitutional.

The case in the National Court was referred to the Supreme Court by Justice Collin Makail returned before him on Tuesday.

Justice Makail told the court the OC should immediately come back and advise the court on its position since the Supreme Court ruling in September.

UBS Reference hearing date set

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia in a directions hearing on Friday fixed the hearing date for the reference on Tuesday, Dec 13 before a three-judge Supreme Court Bench.

Parties in the case; the Ombudsmen Commission, Former Chief Ombudsman Rigo Lua and former Acting Chief Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, and the Attorney General were ordered to file their arguments by the end of November.

The Ombudsman Commission was also ordered to file notices of the hearing to the Prime Minister’s lawyer and the Attorney General.

Parties told to file statements in UBS Reference

Lawyers representing the Ombudsman Commission, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, the Attorney General and the State appeared before the Supreme Court today and were directed to file statements within the next two weeks that will be used in the case hearing.

Former Chief Ombudsman Rigo Lua and former Acting Chief Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari are also parties in this case as interveners.

They were all directed to return to court on Oct 3 where the draft index book is expected to be settled before a hearing date for the Supreme Court Special Reference is set.

Yangoru agri-business a ‘political gimmick’

Polye said he was not talking down the country’s investment and the economy but was shedding a light on realities.

When commenting on the project, Polye said he would not be surprised to see this project as another scam to bleed taxpayers’ money.

He said when he was the Treasury Minister he budgeted K50 million for Sepik Plain under a commercialisation plan.

​Ombudsman Commission’s appeal dismissed

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia dismissed the appeal on Thursday. However, he said the Ombudsman Commission is at liberty to file a Supreme Court review of the National Court’s decision of Jan 28, 2015.

He said if a review is filed by the Ombudsman, it will be determined on its merits.

The Ombudsman’s appeal was dismissed after the court was told that the documents for the appeal could not be located in the registry, despite a Supreme Court reference number or court file number being given for the case on March 6, 2015.

OC appeals against judge’s decision

Lawyers representing the Ombudsman Commission told the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon they are appealing against the decision of Jan 28, 2015 which saw the National Court allowed Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill certain orders restraining the Ombudsman Commission and obtain a reference under section 18(2) of the constitution for interpretation.

PM rebuffs Polye on Chief Ombudsman vacancy

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is the committee’s chairperson, only announced that a meeting will be convened in the New Year.

The Chief Ombudsman's position is currently vacant after Mr Rigo Lua's term in office expired last year.

Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari now serves as the Acting Chief Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Appointment Committee to meet next year

This comes after concerns were raised by Opposition Leader Don Polye who said the delay was worrying him.

The Prime Minister’s office says the meeting before Christmas was deferred as there was not a  quorum.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the appointment process must be independent of politics and it is “inappropriate’’ that the Opposition Leader continually tries to interfere in this process through the media and “his network’’.

Ombudsman team to celebrate 40th anniversary tomorrow

Acting Chief Ombudsman Phoebe Sangetari said the commission’s input into the community was one of the reasons for a reasonable degree of good governance and quality leadership in the country today.

“Forty years on despite whatever the challenges it has faced, it is fair to say the commission has lived up to its duties and responsibilities and the general expectations of it by the founding fathers of the nation and the people,” said Sangetari.

Micah’s second attempt to avoid tribunal

A similar order was refused by the National court earlier.

His lawyers Mal Varitimos (QC) and Nelson Saroa, argued that the Ombudsman Commission acted beyond its jurisdiction by not giving Micah the opportunity to respond to further investigation information after his first response in August 2014.

Varitomos said there were subsequent events that led to additional information through summons issued to the Managing Directors of IPBC and Grand Papua Hotel where the allegations arose.