By JULIA DAIA BORE SIR Arnold Amet attended the handover-takeover ceremony between him and his successor, Dr Allan Marat, yesterday, and told those gathered that he was still the attorney-general and minister for justice, The National reports.
He referred to Marat as the "purported attorney-general" saying neither he nor Sir Michael Somare's government recognised the "purported" events in parliament of last Tuesday which culminated in the change of government.
Sir Arnold said yesterday's occasion (to him) was not a handover-takeover.
Rather, he was only "vacating" his office due to the result of parliament's "unconstitutional" action following which he now had to "vacate" his office pending the court's determination on the matter.
He said he had attempted to seek a Supreme Court reference but "as you know, you Allan (Marat) withdrew it," he said, while smiling at his successor.
Sir Arnold said he had complete trust in the independence of the judiciary which had yet to hear and determine its outcome on the issue currently before it.
"So I am merely vacating the office" pending the outcome of the courts, Sir Arnold said and slid the set of keys to the attorney-general's office across the table to Marat.
Sir Arnold said: "Yesterday, my mind meandered between whether I should do this or not…"
He said he respected the independent judicial process and pointed out that what he could not do what was being done by the East Sepik provincial executive government.
He said he was confident of the judicial system and would await the outcome of the reference.
He then urged department staff to "stay focused" despite the political diversions and to concentrate on taking the profession to a higher level of competence.
"Leave the politics to us politicians," he said.
His words were echoed by Marat who set down the rules for his staff, saying time was of essence and he expected each person's eight working hours to be properly used as public servants.
Marat said: "I am the purported attorney-general. I will say I am now confused. I have been gazetted attorney-general and it is now up to you (those within the department and ministry) whether to refer to me as AG or purported AG."