The sacking of acting public prosecutor Jim Wala Tamate by attorney general Sir Arnold Amet has the fingermarks of prime minister Sir Michael Somare all over it, opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta said today.
“Sir Arnold’s explanation that the decision to sack Mr Tamate was made by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission based on incompetence of Mr Tamate was an insult to the intelligence of Papua New Guineans,” Sir Mekere said.
“That explanation is designed to camouflage the real reason from the public.
“The public perception is that the real reason Mr Tamate was sacked was because he had the guts to refer Michael Somare to the chief justice with a request to establish a leadership tribunal.
“That is the reason for his sacking, pure and simple.”
The opposition leader said many people were surprised by a series of advice that the attorney general had given to the Government so far.
“First, it was apparently Sir Arnold Amet advised the prime minister on the so-called re-election of Sir Paulias Matane as governor general without following the process set out under the Constitution and used since
“How could the prime minister forget this when he participated in the election of every single governor general since independence?
“It is incredible how some people can do anything, knowingly, just to hold onto power.
“When that decision was challenged in the Supreme Court, by an aggrieved party, it was Sir Arnold, again, who advised the prime minister and the government that the court had no power to direct the parliament to be recalled or to interfere with the business of parliament.
“The attorney general for some reason forgot to advise the prime minister that the court was interpreting the law.
“The court is empowered by the constitution to carry out that role.
“The attorney general appeared to have conveniently forgotten this basic fact.”
“Many people are beginning to see the attorney general as a puppet for the prime minister.
“He is being pushed and pulled into positions and postures predetermined by the prime minister.
“The prime minister’s plan is of course just to hold onto power, at any cost.”
The opposition leader said that with Sir Arnold’s appointment, many people hoped that he, with his knowledge and experience, would put a halt to Somare’s highly developed and well-oiled practice of abusing the processes and role of the state institutions.
Sir Mekere said that the general public remained hopeful that Sir Arnold would do something about fighting the growing corruption and abuse taking place in the public sector.
“Sir Arnold’s performance to date gives little hope.
“It is increasingly evident that Sir Arnold has become an active player in paralyzing and destroying the legitimate powers of the institutions of state.”
Sir Mekere said the public should salute Mr Tamate for his courageous decision to refer Sir Michael to answer alleged misconduct charges.
“All he was doing in requesting the chief justice to establish a tribunal was fulfilling his constitutional duty and obligation.
“Mr Tamate was legally required as the acting public prosecutor to do so.
“He had no choice.
“All his predecessors have failed spectacularly to do what he did.
“Mr Tamate is a true professional, who has practised his profession without fear and favour.
“He has set a good example for other public servants to follow.
“It is sad that he has paid a very high price for carrying out his duty to the country honestly and fairly.
“He should remain a proud Papua New Guinean who has been a true public servant.
“It is clear that Mr Tamate brought integrity, professionalism and sense of public duty to the office of Public Prosecutor.”
Sir Mekere urged the prime minister to act like a true leader and allow the institutions of state and public servants to carry out their duties without fear.
He urged the prime minister to stop appointing people who are expected to be puppets and blindly dance to strengthen and preserve Somare’s power base.
“People are fed up with Somare and his puppets.
“How long can they put up with this nonsense is the question?”