By Paul Oates
I refer to a recent speech made in the PNG Parliament and copied
In an eloquent and heart rending appeal to the PNG Parliament,
Mr Sam Basil, MP for Bulolo, has clearly enunciated why today’s PNG
is on a slippery slide to disaster.
Mr Basil is to be congratulated for having enough guts to highlight
what is wrong and the insight to determine what must be done to
pull PNG back from the abyss.
But will his country’s law enforcement agencies hear this heart felt plea and do something positive about the parlous state of their nation?
That is the burning question that as yet remains unanswered.
Continuous inaction by the Police, Public Prosecutor, the Ombudsman
Commission and the national courts has been highlighted as a
basic reason why PNG’s national governance continues to decay.
The challenge has now been issued. Will you, the members of the
relevant PNG authorities now take up this challenge or will you turn away from your people in their hour of desperate need?
People of Papua New Guinea. The decision time is now.
Your country’s future and your children’s future is now in your hands.
Will you continue to ignore what you know is wrong or will you stand up for what you know is right and just?
Mr Basil has led the way. It is now up to you to follow?
Bulolo MP, Sam Basil weighs in on penalizing the disfranchised in a
Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to participate in this debate session.
Many a times, people always ask whether there are two sets of laws when it comes to doing justice to all. Yet again on today’s paper we see concerns raised again with the heading ” Laws for Rich & Poor.
“Mr. Sam Kewa of Western Highlands was sentenced to 12 months in prison for stealing a bilum and a K7.80 packet of Lamb Flaps. He will pay dearly for his criminal actions his reasons for stealing may all begin from a hungry stomach or to feed his poor family.
Mr. Speaker, many Papua New Guineans mainly small people will continue to submit to the Laws of this land while people of high profile continue to live their normal lives without fear of the laws of this land thus pushing the scale of corruption into unprecedented records.
Stealing a K100,000.00 some 20 to 25 years ago can easily spark a notion wide march & petition but sadly today a K100 Million can be easily reported as misappropriated or missing by the PAC, Auditor General or some expensive finance enquiries and the nation just watches and mumbles over it and forgets the next day.
Most times mainly the politicians and the departmental heads who are entrusted to safe guard the wealth of this nation are the ones who steal from the very vault which they guard, many a times in collaboration with private businesses.
Mr. Speaker, sadly to this day many leaders now have a lot to answer for but seems to be immune to the rule of law while the lower class of people are the only ones answerable to the laws of this land.
The rule of law which is the foundation of a civilized society demands that all persons are equal before the law. The law is the master of thegovernment and the government is its slave, not the reverse.
The “law should govern”, and those in power should be “servants of the laws. This is central to democracy and PNG has adopted that system through our Constitution. When it comes to arresting and charging persons suspected of committing a crime, the Police have an unfettered discretion to do that.
Mr Speaker, The Constitution, particularly section 197 (2), empowers the Police to perform their duties without any control or direction from any other person outside of the Police Force insofar as its functions to lay, prosecute or withdraw charges in respect of offences are concerned.
The Courts have held that the decision to lay a charge by a policeman or policewoman investigating the crime is an unfettered discretion without direction, interference or orders from any other policeman or officers whether of the same or of a superior rank.
Whether the alleged persons are high or low profile, every body is equal before the law and they all have to be dealt with the same way. Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. The Police can proceed by way of Summons or by way of warrant of arrest and the Criminal Code Act, the District Courts Act and the Arrest Act all provide for the procedures in respect of different crimes.
The Police know what to do but they are not doing it. A person’s innocence is still yet to be proven but that does not stop the police from making arrests or issuing summonses to appear and answer questions relating to charges.
Mr Speaker, One of the factors that is usually a counter to the policy of
freedom to prosecute suspected criminals including leaders and politicians is the fear of being sued for malicious prosecution. However, malicious prosecution and defamation suits cannot surface or succeed if the Police do their lawful duty without malice and within the bounds of law.
Therefore, if malicious prosecution is the reason for not arresting and
charging the accomplices to the crime, then it is an unreasonable and a cover-up excuse. Furthermore, the excuse for malicious prosecution is very shallow because in many other civil suits, the Police department is the worst offender which costs the State in millions of Kina.
Section 7 of the Criminal Code Act provides that every person who aides another person in committing an offence is also the principal Offender and so the same charges should apply to the rest of the accomplices to the crimes that has been committed.
Mr. Speaker, If other ordinary persons named in the crime can easily be picked up from the street and charged, why not the Politicians & Departmental Heads. Their culpability is very high in that they are the leaders and that although the allegations are unproven and remain as mere allegations, the fact that there is evidence that these allegations have arisen tells a story of a worsening level of corruption and the public and the respective law enforcement agencies, particularly the Police cannot ignore those concerns.
The Police continuous inaction and silence and allowing high profile crimes to fade with time without justice being done is nothing but a recipe for disaster. Such is an element that is directly corroding the foundations of democracy which is the rule of law.
Mr. Speaker, The Civil society is fed up of the complete disregard of lawful duties of the Police. One can safely say that bribery and other forms of corruption are encroaching and weakening the functions of the Police Force as an independent body.
A number of cases are still pending for investigations and prosecutions
involving very senior members of parliament, departmental heads and various business people including the organised Mafia Activities that are operated by Asians, very well known to Police yet nothing is done about it.
Mr. Speaker, the Ombudsman Commission, the public prosecutor and the police force are funded by the tax payers money and must in return execute their rightful duties. The failure by these law enforcement agencies can only form an opinion by the public of the existing two sets of laws, one for the rich & powerful citizens and one for the majority mainly the poor & the marginalised citizens.
Mr. Speaker, the outgoing Chief Magistrate Mr. John Numapo has made headlines in the print media recently claiming that the Magisterial Service has been Politicised went almost unchallenged.
This claim alone automatically brings into question the independence of our Judiciary System in Papua New Guinea, I am not surprised at all because many political cases are now hanging in the air.
Those who are believed to have broken the laws are still and proudly executing their duties while doing injustice to many others before them who have been penalized severely and are now on the street and in their
Institutions that their existence may be in question are still functioning while the nation awaits their verdict. One may ask, Has our Judiciary system already compromised?
Mr Speaker, Let us turn the spot light back into your play ground The National Parliamentary Services. We all understand that greater financial powers of the parliamentary services are vested in the speaker of this honourable house.
Three years of appealing have gone answered, during this sitting I have been fanning myself because three years now I haven’t have air conditioning in my office while I cannot find lawyers in within parliament to help give advice on the implications of many bills on notice papers.
Mr Speaker, The Prime Minister has taken charge of some questions raised regarding the house matters but hasn’t come back to this floor to tell us his remedies and as we all know money alone cannot fix this house but the rats must be fumigated too unfortunately the fumigation company ran out of active pesticides as the pests have developed resistance. It is a common knowledge in within parliament that a K2m of parliament funds has been spent annually for two external law firms while we do not have access to in house lawyers.
Mr Speaker, surprisingly on this week’s paper there was a lawyer potential candidate dishing out cash in donations to various groups makes me wonder whether that cash is from some of the parliamentary funds.
I know nobody will answer to all the concerns that I have raised in this
debate but as I have always say if the Ombudsman Commission, the Police Force, the Public Prosecutor and other law enforcing agencies cannot do their respective role this nation will decay into corruption and eventually a failed state.
If nobody can apply justice then I commit this debate of mine to God to intervene so God please help Papua New Guinea.