Koim appeal against decision to dismiss review

Sam Koim as Chairman of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team has filed a Supreme Court appeal against the National Court’s decision of Dec 2, 2016 dismissing the judicial review.

The Judicial review was filed in 2014 over the disbanding of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team; a body that National Court ruled was created as a result of a policy decision. 

Koim filed the appeal on Jan 6, 2017 listing Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the National Executive Council, Attorney General Ano Pala and the state as respondents.

Koim and the Prime Minister’s lawyers appeared before Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia this morning for hearing, however that did not eventuate because the Prime Minister’s lawyers said they were not served the Notice of Motion.

Koim told the court that Notice of Motion was served on the Prime Minister’s office last week and not on his lawyers.

Sir Salamo adjourned the matter to next week Thursday to give time for parties to serve the motion and also file additional affidavits if they need to by close of business on Jan 25.

The appeal was filed on 13 grounds and seeks to set aside orders of the court that was issued by Justice Collin Makail on Dec 2, 2016.

It also seeks relief sought in the Judicial Review application and that the matter be remitted to the National Court hearing before another judge.

In the Judicial Review, the main issue the court was asked to review was the process used by the National Executive Council in its two decision dated June 18  and June 24, of 2014, to abolish the Investigation Task Force Sweep team and establish the new anti-corruption investigation body; Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Following a trial, Justice Makail on Dec 2, 2016, found that both decisions the court was asked to review were policy decisions which are not “reviewable” in a judicial review proceeding. This is because the Courts would be seen as encroaching into the domain of the National Executive Council.

He said even though the issues raised are of public interest and national importance, other remedies available to Koim and the Task Force Sweep  are through the National General Elections, when people vote MPs who make up the NEC and through the Vote of no Confidence against a Prime Minister.

While the court was made known of the events leading up to the disbanding of the Task Force Sweep, following its investigation on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on allegations of official corruption, Justice Makail said there was no evidence before the court to show such and he was not satisfied the decision to disband the ITFS was made in bad faith.

The issue of Koim’s standing in bringing the proceeding as the Chairman of the ITFS, after his contract had expired as the principal legal officer of the Solicitor General’s office, was also brought to the court’s attention. The court found he did not have standing to commence the proceeding.

(Loop PNG file picture.)

Sally Pokiton