The case came for listing on Thursday before Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia who indicated this in court.
Currently lawyers for the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, and Sam Koim representing himself as Chairman of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team are still in the process of settling what is called the Index books which will be used to assist judges in the substantive appeal hearing.
The matter will return to court next week Tuesday (March 7) for further directions before a tentative date can be set for hearing.
The substantive appeal hearing will come before three judges. This is after the Supreme Court on Feb 15 agreed to hear the appeal which was filed challenging the National Court’s decision to dismiss its judicial review proceeding.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia on Feb 15 also granted an interim order to stay the National Court’s decision on Dec 2, 2016 which dismissed the judicial review.
The judicial review was filed by Sam Koim over the disbanding of ITFS in 2014.
Koim as ITFS Chairman was also ordered on Feb 15 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 in 2015 allege he defied that order in Nov of 2015 and filed a contempt motion against Koim.
The contempt motion was filed 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.
ITFS was abolished by the National Executive Council in two separate decisions 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.
The work of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team, in the meantime, will remain in effect in the country while the Supreme Court expedites the hearing of the appeal.
Picture by Kennedy Bani