MOTI AFFAIR: TWO SETS OF LAWS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Nov. 1) - Defence Minister Bob Dadae made a statement that was expected to come from him since his appointment to this important portfolio.

No one outside of the National Alliance-led Government expected Mr. Dadae to act in any way contrary to the wishes of the Government to stop the Moti Inquiry report ever being released to the public.

The public had always known that Dadae would do exactly as he is told to do and that is to suppress the report. He has done exactly that.

It is a confirmation of the public view that there are two sets of laws in Papua New Guinea. One set of laws is for the ordinary Papua New Guineans who get bashed up daily by police for all kinds of crime and thrown into police cells with bruised bodies and then taken to court and finally to jail.

The other set of laws is for the powerful who will fight their way through the courts at any cost to prove their innocence. Dadae has just confirmed this.

His assertions that the inquiry was improperly set up and that it contravened the Defence Act should be challenged before the Supreme Court.

Everything Dadae said about the report ought to be challenged before the Supreme Court.

The Minister’s challenge of the validity of the inquiry and the preparation of its report questions the integrity of Mr. Justice Salika who chaired and inquiry and members of the inquiry.

This is a serious matter and cannot be ignored. The Minister has questioned the professional standing of a Judge, members of the inquiry board and all those including lawyers who assisted the inquiry in the investigations, hearing and preparation of the final report.

Dadae and the Defence Council are trying to pull wool over the eyes of the people of Papua New Guinea. This could prevent the possible prosecution of many high profile people both inside politics, the public service and the Defence Force.

How can the Minister talk of taking legal action against the soldiers implicated in the report when he has rejected the same report? What about the so-called "Big Fish?"

Former Defence Minister Martin Aini has paid the ultimate price of honesty.

He may have been naïve at the time when he spoke the truth about the pressures being exerted on him at the time. But what he said was the truth and he was stripped of his ministerial portfolio.

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