Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Somare fails in bid to take over PNG government


AAP Papua New Guinea Correspondent

Papua New Guinea's court-appointed prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has failed in his bid to have the nation's governor-general swear in his cabinet, after police refused to let him enter Government House.
Sir Michael Somare

Sir Michael, 76, was ordered back to power on Monday by three of the five Supreme Court justices overseeing hearings into the legitimacy of the government of Peter O'Neill.
Two judges refused to participate in the judgment.
Sir Michael arrived at Government House in Port Moresby about 3pm on Tuesday, but was prevented from entering the grounds by about 30 policemen guarding the front gate.
After waiting inside a dark blue Mercedes Benz for about five minutes, the man known as the Grand Chief was driven away from Government House back to the Ela Beach Hotel in central Port Moresby.
Sir Michael's choice for attorney-general, Sir Arnold Amet, had told journalists earlier on Tuesday Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio had agreed to swear in the Somare cabinet.
"The prime minister, Sir Michael, requested His Excellency to receive him and swear in his caretaker cabinet," Sir Arnold said.
"He has agreed to see the Grand Chief subject to protocol."
However, Sir Arnold soon left Government House for the Ela Beach hotel, a well-known base of operations for Sir Michael's supporters.
After he left and the police presence began to lessen, Operations Commander Colonel Walter Enuma told his men he had been advised by the governor-general's office not to let anyone in.
"No one goes in until after the elections," he said.
"Enough of this chequebook war."
Peter O'Neill, the man installed as prime minister on August 2 with the backing of 70 of PNG's 109 MPs, on Tuesday said the court had overstepped the separation of powers.
"We believe the decision of 12 December 2011 and repeated on Monday evening is in total defiance of the legislature and in total disregard of the Doctrine of Separation of powers between the three executive arms of government," he said.
"We believe this decision in warped, vengeful and was arrived at emotionally."
He had earlier said the court's sudden decision on Sunday to hand down its judgment the following day was an attempt to disrupt the national elections in five weeks' time.
The O'Neill government has been criticised internationally for its repeated attempts to suspend Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, whom they accuse of bias.
Police earlier this year arrested the Supreme Court veteran on charges of trying to pervert their investigation into his handling of court funds.
However, the court quickly stayed proceedings into that matter and called the police investigation an abuse of process.
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika and Justice Bernard Sakora refused to participate in Monday's judgment, citing legal ethics and judicial integrity.
The Sunday Chronicle newspaper the day before had published emails between the judges, in which one of the five judges, Justice Nicholas Kerriwom, referred to the O'Neill government as illegal.
In December, Mr O'Neill and about 60 of his parliamentary supporters were prevented from entering Government House after the court first ordered Sir Michael's return to power.
After the majority of parliament again backed Mr O'Neill, Governor-General Ogio agreed to swear in the O'Neill government.
Sir Michael's cabinet then tried to instigate a military mutiny, but only about 30 soldiers supported them.
Parliament had been expected to be recalled on Tuesday at 10am, however, the sitting did not go ahead.
A spokesman for Mr O'Neill said most MPs had returned to their electorates to campaign for reelection.
"If we can't do it today, we'll try and get them tomorrow (Wednesday)," he said


  1. Anonymous1:11 AM

    I personally think Peter O'Neil is a genuine man and he's got the backing of most Papua New Guineans for the top post. I only think if he had listened and abide by the courts decision that what he did was unconstitutional and given the reign back to Sir Michael at that time, it would be so sweet for him this time around. That would have change the course this election for him. His integrity in upholding the constitution was what the people were concern about.

  2. Anonymous6:52 AM

    Enuma is not a policeman. He seems to be a paid soldier boss of Namah. Both were hooligans in the Sandline affair. As for the article it has bad opening- court appointed pm. There is none. Court ruled on law as is. Legitimate pm is Somare. PO is a counterfeit. Why can't Ausie journos report truth? Is it because their criminal ancestry has more to do with their way of seeing things ie a wrong is a right? And those Ausie journos must be reminded that PO did not win in a vote of no confidence as allowed under law. He is a power grabber by stealing that is a crime but not in eyes of criminal descendants of Australia.

  3. Can Sir Micheal and Mr O'Neill both step aside and appoint Sir Mek or Dame Carol Kidu to run the country on acting basis till writs are returned?