Posted By Staff Reporter
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia yesterday announced his decision to appoint the tribunal following a request from the Public Prosecutor on November 14. The leadership tribunal is to inquire into allegations of misconduct in office made against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
It will be headed by a retired New Zealand judge Sir Peter Blanchard, who begins the inquiry on January 26 next year.
The allegations of misconduct in office are "that the Prime Minister failed to comply with administrative and financial processes, including the normal overseas borrowing process in the approval of a K3 billion loan from the Union Bank of Switzerland AG (Australia branch) to purchase shares in Oil Search Limited".
It was further alleged that the purchase of the shares was in the interest of Oil Search Limited and not the State.
Other members of the Blanchard Tribunal are retired Australian Federal Court judge John von Boussa and Justice Salatiel Lenalia.
Sir Salamo also announced an instrument formalising the tribunal appointment, its composition, the date, time and venue for the start of the inquiry, which are Monday, January 26, 2015, at 9.30am, Courtroom No 1 at the National Court building in Waigani.
Sir Salamo said the instrument also specifies that for the avoidance of doubt, pursuant to Section 142(6) of the Constitution, subject to which Section 28 of the Organic Law and Duties and Responsibilities is to be read, the question of suspension pending the inquiry will be determined by the tribunal in its discretion.
"The importance of the high office held by the PM O’Neill is the reason for the appointment of two imminent former judges of two developed common law jurisdictions and a senior Judge of the National and Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea," Sir Salamo said.
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