The Chairman of the Inter-Departmental Election Committee, Isaac Lupari, announced today (07/06/17) that state lawyers through the Department of Justice and Attorney General will be stationed in each province during the polling and counting period to provide legal advice to the PNG Electoral Commission.
Mr Lupari said this decision was made to ensure legal advice is provided on the spot and in a timely manner and more importantly, to save millions of kina spent on private lawyers.
He said private lawyers cost the State between K4,000 to K7,000 a day for legal advice, while state lawyers cost K600 a day for the same professional service.
This will mean they will save the state K3,000 to K6,000 a day.
Mr Lupari said this is a part of the bigger exercise undertaken by this Government under Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill, to stop excessive wastage and uncontrolled spending in the public sector.
Mr. Lupari said should a dispute rise out of the election, State Lawyers, headed by the Solicitor General will handle cases at the initial stages however, if the cases proceed to the National Court, private lawyers can be engaged.
“We have spent too much money to address disputes in past elections because of lack of coordination and proper management within the public service,” Mr Lupari said.
Mr Lupari said the government has already put in place a system that will help to manage the funds and allow the Inter-Departmental Election Committee to produce a report to the in-coming Government and the next Parliament.