11 Nov 2011

PNG watchdog says public concerned at government's suspension of Chief Justice

2:03 pm on 11 November 2011

The chair of Transparency International Papua New Guinea says there is public concern over the suspension of the Chief Justice.

The government suspended Sir Salamo Injia yesterday, citing a police report that he is facing charges of breaching a contempt order, and mismanaging court finances.

This comes a month before he was to deliver a verdict on the legitimacy of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's election.

Late week the government denied that it was seeking to remove the Chief Justice.

Transparency's Lawrence Stephens says there are questions over the timing of the suspension.

"There is a constitutional provision for the removal of the Chief Justice if there are facts that show he should be removed and people want to see that these things are followed. And there's great suspicion when this action happens just a few days before he's about to make a major statement on the legitimacy of the new government anyway."

Lawrence Stephens