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Sir Salamo not the right person to head UBS loan inquiry

FRANCIS NII

KUNDIAWA - Prime Minister James Marape is to be commended for the appointment of a commission of inquiry to investigate the UBS loan affair, however the appointment of former chief justice Sir Salamo Injia to head the inquiry is dubious.

This is already a compromise of the outcome of the inquiry before it has even started and is not a good sign for the Marape government in its announced campaign of fighting corruption.

If Marape is serious about cleaning up PNG and ridding this country of corruption, the multi-billion dollar UBS loan is a classic case to start with.

This is an issue that has brought so much pain and misery to the country and its people.

It is essential for people who want the whole truth that no stone is left unturned in pursuing exactly what happened and who was responsible for it.

The whole truth must surface and if anyone has broken the law, they must suffer the full force of the law.

The commission’s chairperson will play a decisive and leading role in the inquiry, and the appointee must be someone of honest and unblemished character who can honestly, transparently and impartiality investigate the case.

Sir Salamo Injia is not the right person to make that happen.

He has a dented record of partiality relating to his handling of Peter O’Neill’s arrest warrant in the Paul Paraka case.

It was Sir Salamo who, in his capacity as the chief justice on a one-man bench, granted O’Neill a stay order contrary to a district court’s decision.

The stay order prevented police from arresting O’Neill on allegations of official corruption involving the payment of K71.8 million to Paul Paraka Lawyers.

Sir Salamo subsequently quashed the case citing technical errors as his grounds. Sadly, the substantive matter was not given the benefit of a fair trial in a prudent court of justice.

Prior to these decisions, Sir Salamo was seen having a jovial time with O’Neill at a football game while O’Neill’s application to stay the arrest warrant was pending decision before the court.

The image of the two men, the head of the judiciary and the head of state, went viral on social media.

The verdict upholding the stay order was already reached by social media users before the court actually handed down its decision and, as predicted, the case was consigned to history courtesy of Sir Salamo.

For this reason, the former chief justice isn’t a fit person to head this important inquiry. Two names that came to mind are Sam Koim and Sir Arnold Amet.

If prime minister James Marape is adamant to keep Sir Salamo in the role, it can mean one thing only - and that is the appointment is a calculated move by Marape with O’Neill’s hand in it to muddy the whole inquiry.

Comments

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Albert Schram

These are all legitimate questions. In PNG, however, nothing is what it seems.

Sam Koim was the head of Task Force Sweep which was disbanded in 2013, but has not assured any employment afterwards. How has he paid his bills since then?

He was unsuccessful in his role at Task Force Sweep and failed to ensure any major conviction. He was often accused of bias in his investigations, not targeting his associates and allies.

He never practised as a lawyer, and indeed has hardly any court experience. He should be asked to explain himself and show his tax records.

Mathias Kin

I think it is a waste of 4 million kina on another useless investigation. The many commissions of inquiry under O'Neill and other prime ministers have still not been tabled in parliament.

Why can't James Marape simply use the findings of the Ombudsman Commission? Isn't that credible enough?

Kenny Pawa Ambiasi

Well analysed. Can we say this is the start of the formation of black cloud to block the vision of a "rich black nation, PNG"?

Feeling fed up of seeing people selecting cronies to use them as a shield.

William Dunlop

Right on Philip. Ali Baba in a new guise rearing its greedy head.

Simon Davidson

What has began as a glorious morning of promise and mega opportunity is quickly starting to turn grey.

If this is how Marape will fight corruption, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that all his inaugural speeches and subsequent media statements in "taking back PNG" will be mere political rhetoric.

Philip Fitzpatrick

That's a decidedly dumb appointment.

Anyone even slightly tainted with associations with O'Neill should be avoided like the plague.

Couple that with the hare-brained idea of hocking PNG to China to pay off its debts and you begin to see cracks appearing in the Marape regime.

What's next? Paul Paraka heading up a new ICAC?

Perhaps someone needs to slow down and think these things through more thoroughly.

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