11 Nov 2011

PNG government suspends Chief Justice

6:40 am on 11 November 2011

The Papua New Guinea government has suspended the chief justice of the Supreme Court, a month before he was to deliver a verdict on the legitimacy of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's election.

The Herald Sun online reports the government suspended Sir Salamo Injia yesterday, citing a police report that he is facing charges of breaching a contempt order in a previous case, and mismanaging court finances.

In a statement, deputy prime minister, Belden Namah, said a tribunal of former judges would investigate the allegations against Sir Salamo.

Late week the government denied that it was seeking to remove Supreme Court judges from the case.

The Deputy Chief Justice, Gibbs Salika, is to be acting Chief Justice during Sir Salamo's suspension.

Sir Salamo has been chief justice since 2008.

Meanwhile, Paul Barker, of the Institute of National Affairs, says the Supreme Court will presumably move ahead with its December 9 verdict on whether Mr O'Neill's elevation to the top job on August 2 was constitutional.