PM responds to UBS case application

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has filed his statements in response to an application under section 18(1) of the Constitution over the UBS loan case, which was re-filed by Opposition Leader Don Polye in May.

The PM’s lawyer, Emmanuel Asigau of Pacific Legal Group, this morning appeared before the Supreme Court for directions with Polye’s lawyer Loani Henao.

Asigau told the court his client filed his response statements last week which will be served on Polye’s lawyer today.

Polye will now have two week to respond to the PM’s statements. Parties will return to court on Oct 3 for further directions.

The issue of standing or whether Polye can bring such application before the Supreme Court will be discussed when the matter returns on Oct 3, before a date is set for the actual hearing.

The Australian branch of the Union Bank of Switzerland was served notice of the case on June 3.

This is the case Polye re-filed challenging the legality of the government’s decision to acquire the K3 billion from the Union Bank of Switzerland.

It was re-filed after the Supreme Court, on April 28, dismissed the matter for want of prosecution after Polye’s lawyer failed to appear in court in time for the hearing.

What was returnable that day was a standing application where Polye was to inform the court, through his lawyer, that that he has enough grounds to challenge the government’s decision to acquire the K3 billion UBS loan.

The outcome of the standing application would then proceed to the substantial hearing of the reference. However, Justice Derek Hartshorn, Collin Makail and Don Sawong dismissed the application and the entire proceeding due to Polye’s lawyer’s failure to be in court on time.

Loop file picture.

Sally Pokiton