Court reinstates Michael Waipo as CS Commissioner

The Waigani National Court today ordered the reinstatement of Michael Waipo to the position of Correctional Service Commissioner.

Justice Collin Makail in a ruling this afternoon upheld the Judicial Review filed by Waipo reinstating him to the position he held before Feb 9 this year.

He ordered that the revocation of Waipo’s appointment on Feb 9 as Commissioner and the appointment of acting Commissioner Bernard Nepo “is of no legal effect” and quashed the NEC decision No.15/2016. 

He found that reinstatement would be the appropriate remedy for the judicial review proceeding because Waipo still has two and a half years to serve till his term expired in Sept 2018.

He said the office of the Commissioner is a public office, established under section 8 of the Correctional Service act of 1995 thus revocation and termination of appointments to departmental heads must be done on merit and in a transparent manner.

Waipo’s appointment to the position of Commissioner was revoked in an NEC decision on Feb 9 on allegations of non-performance.

However he was never given an opportunity to respond to, or informed via writing of his alleged non-performance.  A requirement which falls under section 28(3)(d) of the Public Service Management Act and Regulations.

Justice Makail said it was clear the actions of Jim Simatab as Minister in keeping that information (revocation of appointment) from Waipo kept him in suspense and caused uncertainty within the ranks and file in the service as well as the public generally.

“I am satisfied that the plaintiff (Waipo) should be reinstate to his former position and the fourth defendant (Acting Commissioner Bernard Nepo) must vacate the office,” he said.

Minister Jim Simatab, Chairman of Ministerial Executive Appointments Committee John Kali, NEC and Chief Inspector Bernard Nepo were ordered to pay Waipo’s costs of the proceeding.   

Sally Pokiton