PNG Opposition’s application endorsed

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Papua New Guinea Opposition’s special reference uploaded on Monday on the National and Supreme Court’s Integrated Electronic Management System (IECMS) was confirmed to have been successfully received and endorsed by the Supreme Court.

This is according to a sealed and endorsed copy of the decision received by the Young and Williams lawyers law firm representing the Opposition.

This completed the filing process with interveners in the case including the government seen collecting their copies of the sealed application at the Supreme Court registry yesterday afternoon in preparation for a hearing.

The application although had not been given a hearing date and presiding judge yet, is already in the hands of interested parties who would now deliberate and prepare for arguments leading to a hearing date.

The application filed by the opposition leader Douglas Tomuriesa is seeking an interpretation of sections 11, 111, 135, 145 and 155 (4) of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, PNG National Party leader and Sinasina Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua has challenged Prime Minister James Marape to reveal to the nation who has been funding the Loloata Camp for the last six weeks.

Kua said it is incumbent on the Prime Minister Marape to disclose to the nation who is funding such an exorbitant island retreat for weeks on end and warned that taxpayers funds must not be used for political survival.

“In contrast, the Opposition team is taking care of all our costs with our personal funds. As many know, the Crown Hotel is owned by one of our members in the camp, and each member is footing personal expenses.”

“It is deeply disturbing to see the government continue to spend most of its time working out of the Loloata island while expensive government buildings which we pay rent for are sitting idly.

“It is completely wrong for taxpayer funds to be used to house MPs on a lavish resort while the country struggles with a cost-of-living crisis.

“The government must also be careful not to allow outside forces to foot the bill for its comfortable camping.”

Kua noted that a room per night at Loloata can cost upwards of K800(US$207), and given the government has spent weeks there in fully booked rooms, conference rooms, on top of food and beverage, easily over a million kina(US$259,251) has been spent on that island.

“I call on the Ombudsman Commission to take an active role in scrutinising the government’s activities. We see government officials working off the island, see the PM hosting meetings with secretaries, and the PM hosting official diplomatic engagements – this is improper.

“Unlike the Loloata campers, the Opposition team is not based full-time at Crown. For those who have homes in Port Moresby, we stay at our homes and come to Crown for meetings and collective discussions from time to time.

“But in general, there is no lavish camping compared to Loloata and our activities are all within the confines of our personal resources and commitment to the cause of changing PNG for the better,” Kua said.

He urged the Ombudsman Commission and the Independent Commission Against Corruption to demand greater transparency from the government about its activities during this period.

Kua said: “If the government is so confident with their numbers, why are they still isolating themselves on an island? They have adjourned Parliament to September so shouldn’t they be satisfied that their power is safe and can now return to normalcy?

“I believe all Papua New Guineans are tired of this camping behaviour, and the Opposition has certainly taken note of this. We are not camping as the government would make it seem but are actively meeting with each other on a regular basis.

“In future, I challenge the Prime Minister to make camping against the law, especially during times of formation of governments, votes of no confidence, and vacancies in the PM’s post.

“All matters should be resolved on the floor of parliament,” Kua said.