Somare’s attack on the justice system is sinister
Papua New Guinea could be facing a Constitutional crisis as Prime Minister Michael Somare has launched a bitter attack on the Ombudsman Commision, questioned the integrity of the Chief Justice and issued a veiled threat to the police that he should not be investigated.
Somare’s is upset because two reports have been tabled in Parliament accusing him of wrong conduct over the clandestine escape of Julian Moti from police custody and the appointment of the Chairman of the Maritime Safety Authority.
Somare has described the Ombudsman Commission report in the Moti Affair as “stupid and disappointing” and has questioned the Commissions “integrity and objectivity”. He has also described the recommendation for a police investiagtion as “useless and futile”.
As Leader of the Opposition, Mekere Morauta has pointed out it is astonishing that Somare does not seem to understand the laws of PNG and the fact that he as Prime Minister is still subject to them. Morauta has described the PMs comments as “arrogant, shallow and improper” and accused Somare of a veiled threat to the Police Commissioner not to investgate him
This starts to reveal the truly sinister nature of the Prime Ministers reaction to the Ombudsman Commission report. If he has nothing to hide he would welcome a police investigation and he would step aside temporarily while it is conducted. But he is clearly scared and believes he is above the law.
But even more worrying is the fact that the PM seems to have overlooked that the Moti investigation was headed by PNG’s chief judge – the Hounarable Chief Justice Gibbs Salika. It is the Chief Justice who penned the recommendation that the PM be investigated by the police and it is the Chief Justice who the Prime Minister is in effect calling “stupid and disappointing”.
If the Prime Minister has no confidence in the Chief Justice, no confidence in the Ombudsman Commission and believes he can intimidate the police not to investiage him then PNG is facing a Constitutional Crisis.
As commentator Paul Oates has said, “we now need to sort out who will defend PNG against those who seek to destroy the very fabric of our nation”.