Supreme Court allows appeal on ITFS disbanding to be heard

The Work of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team will remain in effect in the country while the Supreme Court expedites the hearing of an appeal against the dismissal of its judicial review.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia on Wednesday afternoon ordered a stay against the National Court’s decision on Dec 2,2016 which dismissed the judicial review.

The review was filed by Sam Koim as Chairman of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team over its disbanding in 2014.

He filed an appeal on Jan 6, 2017 on 13 grounds against the decision of trial judge, Justice Collin Makail.

Sir Salamo after considering the grounds and application for leave to appeal against the lower court’s decision, allowed the appeal to go for substantive hearing because it was a case of national importance.

He was of the view that the ITFS had an arguable case and that the overall interest of justice favours the granting of stay to ITFS when also considering the security and safety of investigation files that the team worked on.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the National Executive Council, its servants and agents are now restrained by the Supreme Court from carrying out the decision of Dec 2,2016 until the appeal is determined.

Koim as Chairman was also ordered to take all necessary steps to prepare the appeal for hearing in the April Supreme Court sitting. Failure to do so will result in the appeal being summarily determined in the April sitting.

All orders arising from the judicial review which includes a restraining order dated July 16, 2014  against Koim discussing ITFS related matters and investigations in the media remains.

The Prime Minister’s lawyers allege he defied that order in Nov of 2015 and filed a contempt motion against Koim.  

The contempt motion was filed against Koim after he ran a full page advert on Nov 18,2015 in The National newspaper, outlining the progressive investigations of cases the Task Force Sweep team worked on.

The Supreme Court appeal will return next week Wednesday for directions.

ITFS was abolished by the National Executive Council in its two decision dated June 18th  and June 24, of 2014 in order for the creation of a new anti-corruption investigation body; Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

However, that was stayed by the National Court in 2014 when ITFS commenced the judicial review proceeding and the Chief Justice today (Wednesday) said whether the ICAC bill will make the third reading in parliament in the remaining time is an issue that is outstanding in parliament.


(Loop PNG File picture.)

Sally Pokiton