Pruaitch faces tribunal

A leadership tribunal sitting against member for Aitape-Lumi, Patrick Pruaitch, has been fixed for September 4 at the Waigani National Court.

This comes after the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, today announced the appointment of two senior magistrates who will assist Chairman of the Leadership Tribunal and Deputy Chief Justice, Sir Gibbs Salika, to enquire into the misconduct allegations against Pruaitch.

The Aitape-Lumi MP was referred by the Ombudsman Commission in 2008 to the tribunal over allegations of misconduct in office following investigations.

The leader is facing seven allegations of misconduct in office relating to double-dipping of support vehicle allowance, entertainment allowance, misappropriation of 2003 District Support Grant and his annual returns to the Ombudsman Commission. 

The tribunal was stayed pending various National and Supreme Court proceedings commenced by the leader in 2010, which came to a conclusion in June 2018, clearing way for the re-constituted tribunal to commence its inquiry.

The Chief Justice in a statement today announced Senior Magistrates Regina Sagu and Benjamin Tanewan, will assist the Chairman and Sir Gibbs in the inquiry.

Their appointment replaces senior magistrate Nerrie Eliakim (now Chief magistrate) and Peter Toliken (now Judge), who were then members of the tribunal, appointed on 3 February 2010. 

The Tribunal will sit on Tuesday, September 4, at the Waigani National Court.

The Chief Justice said the leader’s suspension will automatically occur by operation of law when the Public Prosecutor formally presents the statement of charge before the tribunal.

(Filepic of Patrick Pruaitch)

Sally Pokiton