Category Archives: Legal

PM’S ARREST WARRANT QUASHED

Press Release

15/12/2017

 

A three-man Supreme Court bench today unanimously found the warrant defective and the District Court’s decision to issue it as well.

The court found that lack of care was applied by the District Court in issuing the warrant.

There was no information put on the form to get a warrant. The date on which the information was laid was blank. Even the word ‘Independent’ was spelt wrong on the form.

The court further found that the wrong form was used in applying for the warrant.

To apply for the arrest warrant, form 1 had to be used, as per section 8 of the Arrest Act of 1977.

The court upheld the appeals filed by PM O’Neill and Police Commissioner Gari Baki, and set aside the warrant as void and of no legal effect.

This appeal arose from the decision of August 8, where the National Court ruled it cannot judicially review the manner in which the warrant was issued from the District Court on 12 June 2014.

The Supreme Court ruled that the decision by the District Court to issue the warrant was an administrative decision that was capable of being judicially reviewed.

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Pm: Do Not Pre-Empt Manumanu Inquiry Outcome

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has called on all interested parties in the administrative inquiry into the Manumanu land deal to remain patient and not seek to pre-empt the outcomes of the inquiry.

“I have seen public comment in the media on the administrative inquiry into the Manumanu land deal,” Mr O’Neill said in a statement yesterday.

He said the final report had not been presented to the Government.

“When the final report has been presented to the Government it will be released to the public and prepared for tabling in the National Parliament.

“All interested parties need to remain patient and not seek to pre-empt the outcomes of the inquiry.

“This is a serious matter and the outcome will be finalised in an appropriate timeframe.

“Due process is essential and this must be respected,” Mr O’Neill said

The Prime Minister was responding to calls for him to release the findings of the administrative inquiry into the Manumanu land deal in Central Province.

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) chairman Lawrence Stephens renewed his call for Mr O’Neill to table in Parliament the administrative inquiries findings.

Parliament Debates Missing Taxes

BY JEFFREY ELAPA

The country has been missing a lot in taxes and benefits from the logging operations in the country, the National Parliament was told this week.

Members of Parliament and governors whose provinces have existing logging activities raised concerns that the people have been missing a lot from the logging operations as companies continue to evade logging taxes and other rightful benefits to the people and government.

Oro Governor Garry Juffa said many of the companies are operating criminally and often avoid paying taxes.

He said as former boss of Customs he has evidence of some of those companies who continue to evade paying taxes while many others continue to abuse the landowners using state agencies like police.

“When we entered into the look north policy, the country invited alot of people some of whom are genuine logging companies while others are not genuine but operated by criminals. Some of them manipulate the public service and political landscape,” Mr Juffa said.

“As an independent nation, we must not allow criminal companies to enter and destroy our people and our resources.”

Mr Juffa said the practice of paying royalties is something of the past, it is a colonial and outdated rule and practice and that must stop and look at make good laws through the proposed review to monitor the conduct and practice of the logging companies.

He said the provincial forest board has colluded with officers from the National Forest Authority to issue licenses to many of these rogue companies.

He said another development is good there must be a balance so that there is maximum benefit for our people.
Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta said it is high time all the agreements and law needs to be reviewed.

He said the provincial governments and landowners from timber concessional areas to be included as impacted provinces have bad experiences from logging operations in the country.

He said half of Gulf Province is engaged in logging but the benefits are minimal while many of the companies are operating illegal although their logging permits have expired some 6 years ago.

Among other issues, Mr Haiveta said in his province the log development levies have either been used to fund election while the landowners have missed out on such benefits.
He proposed other option in the review, an one of them is to consider state market option, domestic market obligation as in mining companies to be introduced.

Mr Haiveta said other option to be considered in the review must be include mandatory equity participation and review vehicle registration exemption given to the logging companies by the Department of Transport.

Four Judges Awarded 10-year Contracts Each

By Alphonse Porau ( The National )

 

Justices Ravunama Auka, Danajo Koeget, Thomas Anis and Daniel Liosi were sworn-in as National and Supreme Courts judges by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae at Government House yesterday.

They are to serve for 10 years.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said 10 new judges were appointed, bringing the total to 44.

Sir Salamo said once all appointments were formalised, there would be 39 fulltime and five acting judges from next year.

“The current ceiling we have is 42 permanent judges but right now we have 39 fulltime judges and we still have three permanent vacancies,” he said.

“The statutory ceiling does not include acting judges so we can recruit beyond 42 and that is what we have done in this case and the total number of judges now exceeds the ceiling.”

Sir Salamo said the four appointed judges yesterday were given permanent employment to serve in the respective districts they were in as acting for two years. Some will be sent to other provinces.

“The other six new judges would be sworn in later,” he said.

“Justice Daniel Liosi will remain in Kundiawa, Chimbu; Ravunama Auka in Wabag, Enga, Danajo Koeget in Daru, Western and Thomas Anis in Kokopo.

“For other judges who are coming, two will be posted to Lae , one will be posted to Wewak, one to Kokopo and two will be in Waigani, that includes a judge from Botswana who will resume duties in February.”

PROTESTERS WARNED !

Source: Post Courier

BY GORETHY KENNETH

The PNGDF will have no choice but to forcefully evict the protesting refugees if the situation gets uncontrolled, Lombrum Naval Base Commanding Officer Begsy Karaki said.

But CO Karaki assured no arbitrary actions on their part will be instigated as the 600 odd refugees and non refugees were still under the “care” of the PNG Immigration Office with Australia.

“They will not be forcefully removed. They are here at the military camp and most of their base in military camp are out of bound to any civilian and they will not be seen wondering around in the camp…but if anything happens, with instructions from Head Quarters, we can act,” he said.

The Lombrum Naval Base in Manus is a sensitive military base operated by the Maritime Operations Element of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

Australia and the PNG Governments agreed in 2013 to have the Manus Regional Processing Centre set up in the premises of the military camp, with full knowledge of the military rules.

CO Karaki also explained that there was no call out and that there was no real threat right now but the military base operations was on standby for anything.

“There is no panic and those that have pre-conceived ideas developed by the asylum seekers. I reiterrate that there is no threat,” he said.

“This is Australia’s problem now being brought in here, and we are getting blamed for issues we did not create. We cannot get involved, we have no say in this, but because they are placed here at our military camp, we hope there are some solutions quickly, so we carry on with our duties and tasks.

“This program has placed more responsibility on us, but we have to carry out the tasks.

“If anything happens in the vicinity of the camp, if any threat – I will only act on HQ instructions,” he said.

When asked about the facilities now at MRPC which is inside the Lombrum Naval Base, whether it was now the property of the military base, CO Karaki said he had no idea.”I have nothing on my table saying that, at the moment we don’t own anything because there is no gifting or there is no arrangement or even myself I am not aware of this one or any of that arrangement. We don’t own anything, although it is in the military establishment but we don’t own anything. It is still in the higher process level where they will sort it out,” he said.

Govt Urged to Review Business Act

By : POST COURIER

There is an overwhelming need for the government to review the business act dealing with reserved businesses.

About 400 people involved in both the Bank South Pacific’s small medium enterprise (SME) had unanimously called on the government to protect the reserve businesses for the nationals.

The entrepreneurs had called on Trade and Industry Minister, Wera Mori to take it up with the cabinet in light of what they dubbed as “unfair competition from Asians, who ventured into reserved businesses like mini retail outlets, bakery, restaurants and bottle shops.”

The local entrepreneurs were lured to Goroka’s Pacific Gardens hotel for a four-hour SME roadshow by the BSP yesterday. During the session BSP’s head of SME (retail) Stanerd Wai, presented the SME market overview touching areas on how aspiring entrepreneurs would qualify for loans and what they must do to repay the loan with interest within the given time frame.

“In business activities you must be prepared to take risks, be disciplined and be an industrious person. Pay yourself wages and meet other obligations from the net profit and don’t squander money,” Wai told the participants.

“Some of the net profits can be reinvested into the business. Always maintain an amicable relationship with the bank.”

BSP Goroka branch manager Livi Koki urged the participants to be creative, using their God-given natural talents and be disciplined if one wants to prosper in whatever businesses they venture. Bank officer Lucy Venove talked about SME package while Noko Uvovo explains SME loans. Goroka town manager Harold Abori emphasised the importance of acquiring a trading licence from the municipal authority before engaging in a business activity in the Eastern Highlands capital.

Three successful entrepreneurs were given an opportunity to testify how they are now after securing SME loans from BSP. They are former journalist John Ewande (Highlands Press Publications), Pastor Livai Wapia (guesthouse) and Chris Karmel from the Highlands Technical Service.

BSP’s highlands regional manager Reuben Ekizah was also present at the roadshow.

Raids In City

The National

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK

A MAJOR government operation led by the Immigration Department has uncovered illegal activities conducted by some foreign-owned businesses in Port Moresby.

A team comprising officers from the PNG Customs, Labour Department, Investments Promotion Authority, National Capital District Commission, Bank of PNG and police inspected some businesses and questioned foreign workers yesterday.

The team confiscated two vehicles allegedly smuggled into the country in a container.
The officers also questioned 30 foreign workers for allegedly breaching their visa conditions and work permits.
Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, compliance and border division Dino Mas, who invited The National to accompany the officers yesterday, said each government agency was to check to see if the foreign-owned businesses and workers were complying with  PNG laws.

During a debriefing session after yesterday’s inspection, officers exchanged information and discussed what they had discovered.

PNG Customs Officers said they discovered two brand new vehicles, yet to be introduced to the country, hidden in a container.

“These model vehicles have not been introduced yet into PNG. Yet they are already here. We checked the payment documents and discovered that the owner paid only K8000 for each vehicle,” an officer said.
“We will check our overseas counterpart where the vehicle came from, how these vehicles were shipped out of their country.

“We also discovered large quality of undeclared cigarettes in a container in the same premises. These cigarettes were brought in without paying custom taxes.”
Bank of PNG officers, who requested anonymity, said some of these foreign companies had been avoiding paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Commission.

“Some of these companies are making up to K2 million profit annually. But they were declaring around K500 in tax return. So they are avoid paying taxes,” one officer said.
“Seeing their business operations from outside, it is very big. But when they provide business reports, they make it a very small operation.”
The officers said there were many smaller companies but linked to only three or four big companies.

“And they transfer all the money to one parent company and from there, they bank it in an overseas account.
“This is money laundering. We discovered large amount of cash in their premises and discovered that they don’t bank their money in our commercial banks.

“We encourage them to bank the money for security reasons.”
Labour officers requesting anonymity said they discovered that some companies were not paying superannuation for local staff. They also do not pay the minimum K3 an hour rate.
“Some of these foreign employees are doing jobs that locals can do like operating cash registers. But on their work permit they are managers.

“We also found out that there are too many managers for one job. Some of them come on dependent or tourist visas.  But they end up doing business.”
The Labour officers also discovered that some foreign workers were paid in cash so that their employer would avoid paying tax.

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