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A five-men Supreme Court bench has ruled that Papua New Guinea Opposition Leader and Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah was suspended from performing public duties as leader of the Opposition under Section 28 subsection 1 of the Organic Law on Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership.
This resulted in his application challenging the constitutionality of the election of James Marape as Prime Minister being dismissed in its entirety.
The bench comprising Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, and Justices Panuel Mogish, David Cannings, George Manuhu and Jeffrey Leonard Shepherd handed down the decision this morning.
The principal ground of argument by the interveners (Prime Minister James Marape, Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Davis Steven and Pangu Party) in the proceeding was that on the date of the filing of the application, through to the date of hearing the objection to competency, Namah was suspended from duty, after he was found guilty of misconduct in office by a Leadership Tribunal.
Namah, however, argued that he was not dismissed or suspended at the relevant time, because a National Court order on 05 July 2018, had stayed the decision of the Tribunal, and has stayed his suspension.
The objections by interveners were upheld, and the bench found that Namah was suspended from duty on 18 October, 2017, when the Public Prosecutor referred the applicant to a second Leadership Tribunal.
The bench also ruled that the order of the National Court on 05 July, 2018, which granted a stay of the decision of the Leadership Tribunal, did not stay the proceedings of the Tribunal generally, and did not stay the applicant's suspension.
The bench further ruled that the effect of suspension, amongst other things, was to suspend him from duty as Leader of Opposition, including suspending him from exercising all his powers, functions, duties, and responsibilities of Leader of the Opposition.
This also extends to commencing proceedings under Section 18 (1) of the Constitution, to challenge a decision of the Parliament, regarding the appointment of a Prime Minister.
SOURCE: NBC PNG NEWS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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