Monday, September 12, 2011

Watchdog rejects East Sepik government request


THE PNG Ombudsman Commission is unable to exercise its discretion to invoke powers under section 27(4) of the Constitution and therefore has turned down a request by the East Sepik provincial executives to stop the recall of parliament, The National reports.
Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek was responding to a newspaper article which quoted Arthur Somare, the suspended MP Angoram, as saying the commission should use its discretionary powers to stop parliament from being recalled.
He blamed the OC of "complicity" over the latest political events including the dismissal of Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare from parliament last Tuesday.
Manek said he received three letters from the East Sepik provincial executive which were signed by Governor Peter Wararu, deputy Toby Samek and Arthur Somare representing the East Sepik provincial executive council.
They also went to the commission on  Aug 30 and Sept 2.
He said the letter had requested the OC to invoke its powers under the Constitution and prevent the recall of parliament pending the resolution of the Supreme Court proceedings, prevent parliament from embarking on course of actions including the recall of parliament in breach of the Organic Law from Sept 6 to 20.
Manek said the Ombudsman Commission responded on Sept 5 declining the request.
It was based on the fact that the reference by the East Sepik provincial executive was before the Supreme Court and as such there was a risk of prejudice to the administration of justice if the commission invoked its powers and prevent the recall of parliament.
The OC is also a party in the court proceeding.
He said the OC had also advised the three that they could use the court to stop the parliament sitting.
Manek said the parties were informed that the issue of directions would not be in the best interest of the current proceedings and the OC could be seen as interfering with the constitutional process of parliament which was determined by the constitution and the organic law on meetings of parliament.
"The commission's powers to issue directions under section 27(4) of the Constitution is self-executing and can be used independently as a particular case or circumstance if a case permits," he said.
However, the intention of section 27 (4) of the Constitution is to attain the object of subsection (1), (2) and (3) of section 27 of the constitution which provide generally for the preservation of the integrity of the persons subject to the leadership code.
Therefore, he cannot interfere with the constitutional process and the organic law on the calling of meetings of parliament and therefore the commission can not exercise it discretionary powers.

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