Court refuses restraining orders sought by Asi

The Waigani National Court has refused to grant restraining orders sought by suspended Defense secretary Vali Asi against the NEC and the state.

His lawyer went before the court on July 12, asking the court to stay his suspension, reinstate him to his position and restrain the NEC from taking any further disciplinary actions against him, including the revocation of his appointment.

Justice Leka Nablu today refused the orders, saying the interim reliefs he is seeking from the court are those he would seek in the final determination of the review.

She refused the application for stay and interim orders in the overall interest of justice.

Asi was suspended on February 9 and vacated office on February 16.

He was suspended by the National Executive Council pending the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged fraudulent land acquisition of the Manumanu land in Central Province.

Trevor Meauri was appointed acting secretary to oversee the department after the announcement of the Commission of Inquiry by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in February.

Asi has been suspended for the past five months and Justice Nablu said to reinstate him by order of the court would disturb the status-quo and would be bad for the Defense Department due to the acting appointment.

The case will return to court on August 14 for further directions.

In the meantime, parties have been ordered to file any further affidavits they wish to rely on in the trial, which is the review of Asi’s suspension, by July 28.

Sally Pokiton