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.