PNG attorney-general warns about interference

4:11 pm on 25 January 2019

Papua New Guinea's attorney-general has stressed the importance of public office-holders working within their mandated authority.

Papua New Guinea 's national parliament in Waigani.

Papua New Guinea 's national parliament in Waigani. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Davis Steven has raised concern about his authority being undermined by the chief-secretary to government, Isaac Lupari.

Mr Steven took exception to Mr Lupari blocking a recent appointment of an acting solicitor-general, and has warned about interference.

The attorney-general said members of government had to work within defined boundaries.

"I do not wish to be undermined by others who are not so authorised by law. And especially in a case where it involves a solicitor-general, who both in legal convention and under the Attorney-General's Act, takes instructions from no other authority but the attorney-general."

Davis Steven said the issue had been handled, and his relationship with Mr Lupari, a close ally of prime minister Peter O'Neill, was being managed.

"Work has to be done in spite of these issues and disputations from time to time," Mr Steven reflected.

"The most important thing is to ensure that government is (performing) its functions on the mandate that's been defined by law."

He said the chief secretary's role was in managing PNG's civil service, and "we all know where we should interact and in what manner we should interact".

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