POLICE are yet to arrest acting Prime Minister Belden Namah and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat for contempt of court.
Acting Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga said he was instructed by the Supreme Court to arrest the two on a contempt of court order issued by Justice Bernard Sakora last Friday in response to a decision of the National Executive Council to suspend the chief justice.
Namah left last Friday for Kimbe on a prior engagement and returned to Port Moresby later that day and was escorted by police to his house.
Kulunga said: “I confirm receiving the order and I will act on it.”
Both Namah and Marat are reported to have stated they will produce themselves to police this week.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill appealed for calm from Hawaii where he is attending Apec conference.
“There is no reason for citizens and residents to fear the collapse of the rule of law or to speculate about the onset of a constitutional crisis in PNG.”
O’Neill said: “Nothing like that will or shall happen under my watch.
“What the nation has been watching and experiencing since Aug 2 is a healthy democratic display of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary proactively exercising their respective constitutional and independent roles as the three arms of government,’’ he said (see Page 55 for O’Neill’s full statement).
“That being so, the gravest development we must all expose, oppose and depose is the intrusion by the three arms of government into the affairs of each other.”
Former acting prime minister and Wabag MP Sam Abal yesterday accused the prime minister of lying to the nation when he declared last week that there would be no such move against the judiciary.
Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru called on the prime minister to sack his deputy and all who participated in the decision last week.
The East Sepik provincial government had also applied to the Supreme Court to have the entire cabinet, including the prime minister, charged with contempt.
The application by the provincial government was lodged at the Waigani Supreme Court last Friday.
Former judge, Nemo Yalo, said: “This is the worst case of abuse of power at the highest level.”
PNG Law Society president Kerenga Kua said: “Namah and Marat probably have a genuine explanation for their actions but like everyone else they can have their say in court. It may be totally justifiable but the due process will reveal that.
“The Constitutional Planning Committee, having foreseen such future abuses by po­wers that be, had specifically written a safety mechanism into the Constitution in section 182(3).
“This section says that where the chief justice is suspended and he was dealing with any judicial proceedings, he may continue and complete those proceedings, unless the Judicial and Legal Services Commission forbids him from doing so,” Kua said.
The National Executive Council decided last Thursday to suspend Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia on allegations of contempt of court, double-dipping and gross misma­nagement of court finances.
Kulunga said the order would be executed “as soon as practical”.
The order stated that “pending formal charges of contempt being laid by the re­gistrar of the Supreme Court against Belden Namah and Dr Allan Marat, that they both be arrested and detained by police forthwith and produced to this court on Monday, Dec 12, at 9.30am”.
“The said decisions of the National Execu­tive Council are hereby stayed, and that the National Executive Council by its
servants and agents whomsoever including Belden Namah and Dr Allan Marat, are restrained from implementing the said decisions.”
The bustling streets of Port Moresby were unusually quiet last Friday and Saturday night after rumours of a coup gripped the city as a result of the suspension of the chief justice and the subsequent Supreme Court order to arrest Namah and Marat.