NATIONAL COURT REJECTS PLEA BY BOUGAINVILLE MPS

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By Timothy Kwara

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 13, 2000 – The National)---The National Court on Friday dismissed a summons filed by Bougainville regional MP, John Momis and his fellow Bougainvillean MPs.

Mr. Momis, Forest Minister Michael Ogio, Central Bougainville MP Sam Akoitai and South Bougainville MP Michael Laimo had applied to the court seeking guidance and greater certainty in establishing the Bougainville Provincial Government.

This followed an earlier court ruling in its favor, but which many Bougainvilleans are opposed to on grounds of how it should be set up and then operated under the provincial government reforms.

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Mari Kapi dismissed the application and ruled that an interim provincial government be set up until the next general elections in 2002.

The court heard that there were difficulties because there were no local level governments as well as no urban local government in place on Bougainville.

Representatives from both the urban and local level governments were required to constitute the provincial assembly.

"The absence of the provincial government can't be regarded as lack of machinery. The situation can be resolved with the setting up of the interim provincial government," Sir Mari said.

He expressed concern over the national government's failure to take further steps in setting up the provincial government.

The ruling means that Mr. Momis and his colleagues will have to make submissions to the National Executive Council to appoint people to the interim provincial assembly.

Sir Mari will give the reasons for dismissing the application today.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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