Polye can challenge Govt. decision to get USB loan

The Supreme Court on Tuesday this week ruled that Opposition Leader Don Polye can challenge the Government’s decision to acquiring the K3 billion UBS loan on March 6, 2014.

A three-man Supreme Court bench consisting of Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, Justice David Cannings and Justice Stephen Kassman in a unanimous decision ruled that Polye has standing or the legal capacity to challenge the government’s decision in court through a Supreme Court application filed under section 18(1) of the Constitution.

They were of the view that Polye raised significant constitutional issues. They said he has the right to challenge the decision as he holds a public office and is a member of parliament.

A date will later be set for the substantive hearing of the application which is expected to come before the same judges.

Polye through his lawyer, Loani Henao asked the court on Oct 28 to hear his application and enquire into the manner in which the UBS loan was approved and obtained by the Government.

He said the NEC breached section 209 of the constitution when acquiring the UBS loan by not seeking the approval of Parliament before the state entered into a financial agreement with the Union Bank of Switzerland for the purpose of obtaining 10.1percent shares in Oil Search.

The application substantively is a request for the court to enquire into whether parliament approval was needed by the NEC prior to the K3 billion UBS loan being acquired.

Henao also told the court on Oct 28 that on March 6, 2014 submissions were made to NEC by PM O’Neill for the acquisition of the loan which was approved the same day. On March 9, Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele through a memo dated March 6 requested for Polye to sign instruments as the Treasurer which he refused to.

Henao said his client despite being a member of the NEC refused to sign the instruments as the Treasurer at that time because proper processes were not complied with. Polye’s refusal to sign resulted in his sacking as Treasurer.


Sally Pokiton