PNG court stays Taskforce Sweep disbanding
PNG's anti-corruption Taskforce Sweep will continue to operate after the National Court permanently stayed a government attempt to disband it.
Papua New Guinea's national court has permanently stayed an attempt by the National Executive Council to disband the anti-corruption unit Taskforce Sweep.
The government moved to disband the agency last month after one of its investigations alleged that the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, was involved in illegal payments of 29 million US dollars to a law firm.
Taskforce Sweep's chairman, Sam Koim, subsequently filed a review application, citing personal bias and unreasonable actions in its removal - and the judge agreed.
But as our correspondent Todagia Kelola told Jamie Tahana, there's still plenty more of this saga to come.
TODAGIA KELOLA: Justice Les Gavera-Nanu permanently stayed suspension of Sam Koim and the disbanding of the Taskforce Sweep. It simply means that Sam Koim is the chairman of the Taskforce Sweep and that the decision by the NEC to revoke his appointment is permanently stayed and the decision by the NEC to disband the Taskforce Sweep is also permanently stayed until the matter is fully determined by the national court.
JAMIE TAHANA: This isn't the end of it is it? This is just a stay until more decisions come.
TK: Yes, yes, previously it was an interim stay that the court gave to Sam Koim but after both argued in court for the stay orders the judge granted the permanent stay as requested by Sam Koim and Taskforce Sweep.
JT: What did the judge say? Because Sam Koim claimed that the Taskforce Sweep dismissal was based on personal bias and stuff like that. Did the judge agree with his statements?
TK: Yes, Justice Gavera-Nanu agreed that there were definitely some flaws within the law and some procedural flaws when the decision was handed down to disband and also to suspend Sam Koim. Some parts of the laws were not complied with or not followed in coming up with the decision.
JT: Has Sam Koim said anything?
TK: No, we were not able to get his comment, but I'm pretty certain that he will be a very happy man and he may very well carry on where he left before.
JT: And that is his pursuit around the Paraka payments and of course Peter O'Neill's alleged involvement in them.
TK: Yes, be reminded the matter is also before the court and was contempt proceedings that came before the Chief Justice, who has also said that the contempt proceeding in stayed indefinitely while everything has been reset to a full bench of the Supreme Court to determined whether there were any contentious actions by the commissioner.
JT: Just remind us about the contempt proceedings, this is against the new police commissioner Geoffrey Vaki isn't it?
TK: Yes the members of the Taskforce Sweep have gone to the national court alleging that Mr Vaki has all committed contempt in that he had not enforced an order of the District Court which is the warrant of arrest, which was issued by the District Court. It went before the chief justice who has determined that this sort of interpretation should be left with the full Supreme Court bench to interpret and if the Supreme Court decides 'yes', then Mr Vaki will be called in for contempt.
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