Somare: public servants could be charged with sedition

16/01/2012 07:56

The Supreme Court-reinstated Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.


Supreme Court-reinstated Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has warned public servants they could be charged with sedition for implementing the O’Neill government’s policies.

The caution caps a month-long power struggle between Papua New Guinea’s two rival political camps, led by the 75 year-old veteran politician and the parliament-chosen PM Peter O’Neill.

Sir Michael has refused to give into claims by the O’Neill camp that they represented the legitimate government, saying the list of alleged breaches and violations by their rivals continues to grow since their illegal election last August.

“At the end of last year 2011, my government listed the breaches and violations since the O’Neill regime illegally assumed office on 2 August 2011. The list was long and is still growing today. The National Newspaper and the Jakarta Post revealed last week more irregular activities of the regime. It is in light of these activities and the fear of more breaches that I appeal to public servants who are committed to preserving the rule of law and safeguarding Papua New Guinea to please observe and uphold the constitution,” he said.

Sir Michael warned that their failure to uphold the law could see them charged with sedition: “Enough is enough, public servants and members of parliament that are using their position to act outside of the law and against the interest of the state must be careful as their behaviour could be regarded as seditious.”

The appeal by PNG’s founding PM, whose own position as the East Sepik regional MP is under a cloud after the O’Neill camp used its numerical strength in parliament to declare his seat vacant, coincides with a war of word between O’Neill-aligned police commissioner Tom Kulunga and Somare-appointee Fred Yakasa.

Mr Kulunga has denied charges by Mr Yakasa that he was threatened not to attend a court hearing that sought to validate his appointment by the Somare camp as the police commissioner.

He said the purported threats were not his “style of leadership” and were unnecessary.

“The judiciary process is there for all Papua New Guineans to bring forward their grievances and seek justice if they so desire and I will not prevent anyone from seeking what is their fundamental right,” Mr Kulunga added.

It is understood Sir Michael intends to return to the Supreme Court to get it to reinforce its December 12 ruling that reinstated him as prime minister.