9 Jul 2011

PNG attorney general says government appointments valid despite legal suit

7:30 am on 9 July 2011

Papua New Guinea's Attorney General has dismissed claims by a former judge that a series of top level appointments, including that of the acting Prime Minister Sam Abal, were unconstitutional.

Nemo Yalo's bid for a judicial review of case Mr Abal's appointment, as well as that of Sir Arnold Amet as Attorney-General and cabinet minister Paul Tiensten to act as Governor General last December, is due in court soon.

The court is to determine if the then Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane had the constitutional power to make the appointments while on leave.

Sir Arnold insists the three appointments are constitutionally valid.

"If the Governor General is going to be absent the Speaker is the next in line to act as Governor General. If he's not available the Chief Justice acts as Governor General. If the Speaker and the Chief Justice are not available then constitutionally the Government appoints a Minister to be acting Governor General and that is precisely what happened on this occasion."

Sir Arnold Amet says the legal challenge is a michievous waste of time.