OPPOSITION leader Belden Namah says the country needs a new prime minister and accuses Attorney-General Sir Arnold Amet of giving misleading advice on important constitutional matters, including the health status of the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, The National reports.
Namah, with the support of Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat, Sir Puka Temu and Jamie Maxtone-Graham, said at a media conference that the country lacked leadership and parliament must be recalled to appoint a new prime minister or dissolved the position to allow for fresh elections.
He said Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal was illegally occupying the position and called on the government to invoke section 142 (5) (c) of the Constitution to vote in a new prime minister.
Namah raised concern over legal advice given to the National Executive Council and parliament on important issues affecting PNG, including constitutional matters.
He raised the concern following the decision by a three-judge bench Supreme Court last Friday which cited Sir Michael for preventing a proper legal process from taking its course.
“The Supreme Court decision clearly indicates that some leaders can go to the extent of abusing the process to deliberately delay justice to protect personal interests,” he said.
Namah said the judiciary and the courts should not tolerate such tactics, especially cases involving parliamentarians “who are the lawmakers”.
“Politicians and people with legal background who are found to be abusing processes should be dealt with appropriately,” he said.
Namah was critical of the legal advice provided by the state lawyers.
“With Sir Arnold, a former chief justice, as the government’s chief legal adviser, it is hard to understand why there have been so many blunders,” he said
“It is such blunders that are costing the taxpayers millions of kina for legal advice provided to the government and even parliament.”
He said some high profiled cases included:
*Government ignoring fiscal processes in fiscal agreements over landowner benefits and local company content for the LNG project;
*Illegal re-election of Sir Paulias Matane as governor-general;
*Continuous failure by government to meet the required 63-day (nine-week) parliament sittings;
*Sir Michael’s efforts in preventing the Ombudsman Commission from investigating him on official misconduct charges;
*Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare’s endless court attempts to stop the OC dealing with him for alleged misconduct charges;
*The failure by the government to appoint two medical doctors to report back in 28 days the condition of the prime minister; and,
*Failure by Abal to immediately appoint two new ministers after the suspension of Arthur Somare and Patrick Pruaitch.
“The Constitution, laws and independence of the judiciary are essential for democracy to survive,
This government and parliament Speaker have jointly destroyed the independence of parliament.”