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PNG PM O’Neil vow to fight court battle to last breath, Acting Solicitor General removed
1:05 pm GMT+12, 01/07/2014, Papua New Guinea

 Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neil has vowed to fight court battle to his last breath to defend himself from the allegations made against him with the warrant of arrest.
 
There are many calling for the Prime Minister to resign but O’Neil has planned ahead to fight the court battle in all means. O’Neil told his staff at the Prime Minister’s office Monday that he will fight the court battle through the rule of law.
 
The Prime Minister has not been found guilty of` any crime and continues to deny that he has authorized the K71.8 million (US$26.4 million) payment to Paraka Lawyers.
 
O’Neil’s lawyer have argued that it is ridiculous for a head of state to be arrested and the country thrown into chaos before being found guilty of a crime.  
 
The National Court will hand down its ruling today on the application seeking a stay order on the warrant of arrest on Prime Minister O’Neill.
 
The ruling was fixed for today after Justice Ere Kariko heard submissions from Queens Counsel lawyer Mal Varitimos on behalf of Sam Bonner for Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki.
 
In his submission, Varitimos said the court had jurisdiction to stay a criminal investigation. However in this case, all they are asking for is a stay on the warrant of arrest but that the investigation can continue.
 
Tiffany Twivey-Nonggorr, who represents O’Neill,  said the stay order will prevent any further division in the police force which could lead to civil unrest.
 
She said it would also reinforce that there is only one Police Commissioner in the country and all rank and file should follow.
 
During the entire hearing of the application Justice Ere Kariko has asked why the court should interfere in a police constitutional function.
 
He also asked if the application before him was not directly related to the substantive proceedings filed by James Marape, seeking a determination of the legal bills paid to Paul Paraka Lawyers by taxation or determination.
 
Strong police presence is expected again at the Waigani Court House.
 
Meanwhile, Jubilee Tindiwi has been removed as the Acting Solicitor General and replaced by her deputy, Faith Barton-Keene, reports LOOP PNG.
 
The surprise removal was made Monday morning. A source within the Solicitor General’s Office said everyone was surprised by her removal which is said to have been made by the Attorney General, Ano Pala.
 
Tindiwi’s removal is the latest in a series of sackings and appointments during a controversial period following the issuing of the arrest warrant on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
 
In the proceedings in which lawyers for O’Neill are seeking a stay order on the arrest warrant, Tindiwi unsuccessfully sought leave to be joined as party to the proceedings on behalf of the state.
 
Tindiwi was appointed Acting Solicitor General in February 2013 after looking after the Highlands Regional office as the Principal Legal Officer since 2009.
 
She takes up the role vacated by Barton-Keene as the Deputy Solicitor General Regional Operations.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/LOOP PNG/PACNEWS


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