Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Amet is Madang Governor

By Joshua Arlo, Post Courier
A SUPREME COURT has confirmed the former Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet as duly elected Governor of Madang Province.
This follows its decision last Friday to quash the September 2008 voiding of his 2007 general elections win by the National Court.
Sir Arnold, who was not in court to hear the decision, was ousted from public office on allegations of undue influence and illegal practices in relation to derogatory remarks made by himself, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and a Nick Mare during campaign period against another candidate, and former politician, Peter Yama.
However before a packed courtroom, the high court decided unanimously that these derogatory remarks which said Mr Yama was a highlander and if in power would allow for highlanders to take over Madang; that he was a thief; and had more than one wife; could not sustain Mr Yama’s petition. The court said there was no proof that Sir Arnold gave authority for Mare and Sir Michael to make these comments while in his presence, and accepted Sir Arnold’s contention that his comments on polygamous marriage was in light of his Christian belief.
“The grounds of Mr Yama were incompetent to go for trial and the words uttered do not amount to undue influence. We uphold the review application and the orders of September 11, 2008 by the National Court are quashed and the petition is dismissed,” head judge, Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika said last Friday. He said the National Court judge erred in his ruling because he did not adequately address whether the statements made were untrue or a threat to voters. The trial judge was not precise in his conclusions whether the pleadings raised by Mr Yama sufficiently complied with requirements of section 208 of the Organic Law; therefore incompetent, and evidence adduced at trial did not establish the essential elements of undue influence and illegal proactice and ruling was an error.
The court said issues raised in this review concerned procedural compliance with a provisions of the Organic law and Mr Yama did not plead sufficiently facts supporting undue influence within meaning of section 102(b) of CCA and illegal practice within meaning of section 215 (3)(a) of Organic Law that states an election can be voided if this statement is proved to be ‘fraud’ or false. Mr Yama took the decision calmly, and outside the courtroom told supporters and the media while he accepted and respected the decision of the court, he was frightened of the consequences that may arise from how this decision is interpreted.

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