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A JUDGE has rejected an urgent application by Madang Governor Peter Yama seeking interim orders to restrain police from interviewing him over allegations of bribery during the 2017 national elections.
Waigani National Court judge Ere Kariko described Yama’s application “as an abuse of court process” and “an improper use of court process”, stating in his ruling that Yama’s actions warranted “someone who doesn’t want to be interviewed by police”.
The application was filed by way of motion naming Yama as the plaintiff against defendants Steven Yalamo (first), the police (second) and the State (third).
It is alleged that after the failed election petition of Jerry Singarok in 2018, there were allegations of bribery against two other persons which were pursued by police.
The two were then charged and tried at in the National Court in Madang where they were convicted and sentenced for the offence.
They then appealed against their sentencing, which is currently pending, while police have written to Yama asking for an interview in relation to that bribery conviction.
Yama’s lawyer Ben Lomai brought the application before the civil court seeking to stop police from interviewing Yama in the alleged criminal proceeding.
Lomai claimed that it was a “breach of the plaintiff’s (Yama) rights to succumb to an investigation which is not correct”.
“The basis of the allegations is not true, there has to be some filtering process in place,” Lomai said.
He said the facts that formed the basis of the allegations were not true and were brought up through political motivation. Justice Kariko told Lomai that Yama could respond to those issues when he was defending himself against the complaint when interviewed, and insisted on the “cause of action” on why the application was brought up in a civil court.
“So what’s the cause of action? You can’t just come to this (civil) court and ask to stop police from interviewing the person,” he said.
“This court has to be careful that we don’t interfere with police in conducting their constitutional duties and that has been clearly stated in the case of (Eremas) Wartoto.
“They’re (police) only inviting your client (Yama) for an interview, they haven’t even charged him yet and you’re already asking this court to intervene.
“If he does get charged, your client has the constitutional right to defend himself.
“He hasn’t even been charged yet, why are we here in court?”
Justice Kariko subsequently rejected the application with no costs after finding no cause of action disclosed by Lomai.
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