National Court Upholds Ombudsman Commission’s Application

An application filed by the Ombudsman Commission to review its directive to suspend a proposal to build a state property, was refused by the National Court in Port Moresby.

Justice Colin Makail upheld the judicial review because the court found that the defendant had no powers to issue such an order. The Ombudsman Commission directive was issued in 2014.

The parties involved in this court proceeding are Public Service Minister, Sir Puka Temu, Personal Development Secretary, John Kali, and construction companies, Central Land and Naima Investment Limited.

Sir Puka Temu and John Kali are first plaintiffs while Central Land and Naima Investment Limited are second plaintiffs. Chief Ombudsman Rigo Lua and Phoebe Sangetari are defendants.

This matter is in relation to a directive issued by Ombudsman Commission in May, 2014 to stop the first and second plaintiffs in going ahead with the construction of a 27-story building.

The building was proposed to have accommodated government departments and agencies.

Mr. Lua told the plaintiffs that there was an investigation in place and a provisional report will be provided to the plaintiff.

However, the court found that to date, no report has been provided.

On this ground, Justice Makail concluded that though the Ombudsman Commission had some powers to give directives under Section 216 of the Constitution, that direction interfered with two construction companies.

Makail said instead of being an aid in the defendant’s investigation, the directive became oppressive and unreasonable because the Ombudsman Commission failed to provide a provisional report.

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