Monday, December 12, 2011

Sir Arnold Amet: It is contempt


PARLIAMENT last Friday created a vacancy in the office of the prime minister and rendered useless any decision of the Supreme Court due today, whichever way the decision leans, former attorney-general Sir Arnold Amet claimed yesterday, The National reports.
“The court decision will be meaningless. We have created a fresh vacancy. There can be no other purpose to rescind that leave for,” Sir Arnold said.
He said all the issues pertaining to Sir Michael’s dismissal by the speaker on Sept 6 were part and parcel of proceedings in court, yet, the government had gone ahead to declare a vacancy in the office of the member of East Sepik a second time which, he claimed, was contemptuous of the proceedings.
Last Friday, the government, using its numerical strength, voted 64-0 on a motion by Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah to rescind the vote in May when parliament granted Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare leave on medical grounds to be absent from that sitting.
The Governor-General, Sir Michael Ogio, had signed instruments creating a vacancy in the East Sepik provincial seat.
Last Friday morning, the Supreme Court had deferred to today its ruling on the East Sepik provincial executive council’s application on the legality of Peter O’Neill’s election as prime minister on Aug 2.
It followed a last-minute application by O’Neill to have Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia
stood down from hearing the case, alleging bias.
The court will decide that application first and then deal with a contempt matter against Namah and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat before bringing down its decision on the special reference to decide the fate of the O’Neill government.
This was the second time Sir Michael had been removed as member for East Sepik.
Speaker Jeffery Nape on Sept 6 summarily dismissed Sir Michael on grounds that he had absented himself from three consecutive parliament meetings.
Nape claimed then that the May motion to grant leave of absence was defective in that it should have covered three sittings, and not one.
Sir Michael has gone to court challenging that removal on grounds that, excluding the sitting where parliament granted him leave of absence, he had only been absent for two sittings.
Sir Michael’s case comprised part of the special reference which decision was due today.
The grand chief yesterday expressed surprise and shock at the Nape decision last Friday to remove him. “In 40 years, this is the first time it has happened. I am shocked. I was present in parliament.
“Stupidity made him blind.”
Last Friday’s parliament vote effectively absented Sir Michael for three consecutive sittings and created a vacancy in the office of the prime minister.
It also meant that if the court ruled today against O’Neill, Sir Michael cannot assume the position.
Thus, the position of the prime minister is vacant and the election of a prime minister becomes the first business for parliament at its next meeting.
Sir Arnold, accompanied by Sir Michael and 12 MPs, said yesterday the government had acted in contempt of the process before the Supreme Court.
He described the move as “corrupt, convoluted, illegal, perverted, insane” and “absolutely contemptuous” of the court proceedings.
“Numerical strength does not supersede the Constitution and the rule of law,” Sir Arnold said.
“This is a continual perversion of the Constitution. This regime has violated the rule of law and constitutional democracy.”
Sir Arnold also said they were working on referring O’Neill and his entire cabinet, Namah, Marat and Nape to court for contempt

No comments:

Post a Comment