November 23, 2015

Belden Namah opposes references to tribunal

VANIMO-Green MP Belden Namah has objected to the references presented to a leadership tribunal, questioning its jurisdiction and citing “an apprehension of bias”.
Namah’s lawyer Greg Sheppard raised the objection after by Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin, who is also the counsel assisting the tribunal, submitted the references to tribunal members Justice Goodwin Poole and senior magistrates Mark Selefkariu and Ernest Wilmot in Waigani yesterday. 
Sheppard said the objection related to the jurisdiction of the tribunal to receive the reference. 
He said there was a reasonable apprehension of bias in the tribunal because Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, who appointed the tribunal members, was intricately involved in one of the allegations levelled against Namah. 
The allegation related to Namah’s conduct when he entered a court presided by Sir Salamo.  Sheppard said a reasonable person having knowledge of the facts of the case sitting at the back of the court and observing proceedings could have an apprehension of bias in a building under the control of the Chief Justice. 
He said the tribunal members represented by a private counsel were involved in on-going litigation proceeding filed by Namah in the National Court on Oct 26. 
Kaluwin opposed the submission stating that the tribunal members were properly appointed by the Chief Justice. 
Namah is facing misconduct in office allegations relating to various matters including failure to lodge, or lodging late annual returns to the Ombudsman Commission and failing to lodge financial returns to the Office of Integrity and Political Parties and Candidates Commission. The National/ONE PNG