Thursday, 20 December 2007 9:46 PM

The CJ call on Sikua to stop misleading the Nation.

The CJ call on Sikua to stop misleading the Nation.

I write in response to Mr. J. Teddie view on the above topic.

From what I gathered from your paper, the CJ only wrote to Dr. Sikua pointing out that there was no intimidation being placed on the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) by the Sogavare's government. The CJ wrote to Dr. Sikua because he is the Chairman of the JLSC under the Constitution.

It is important to restate what had happened leading up to Moti's appointment as AG. The JLSC only decide on a candidate after the government (PSC) put forward their recommendation. The JLSC can not go out and pick any lawyer for the post of AG. Whether there was any advertisement for the job or not, are not matters for the JLSC to consider or deliberate on. The JLSC only considers the appropriate legal qualification of person employed in the Public Service. Constitutionally Moti met all the requirements to be appointed AG. The JLSC did appoint Moti. The JLSC appointment came before Moti was arrested in PNG upon the request from Canberra for crimes committed in Port Vila.

When the JLSC became aware of the subsequent arrest in PNG, the CJ, acting on behalf of, and as the chairman of the JLSC, wrote to the Public Service Commission (PSC) informing the PSC about the PLSC reservation about Moti's suitability (moral and political considerations here) for appointment as AG. The CJ also advised the PSC to suspend the formal appointment (including the swearing in) of Moti by the GG. Constitutionally, the JLSC can only make the appointment but can not discipline, revoke or suspend the AG (in this case Moti). That job appears to be for the PSC under the Constitution.

Therefore, when the JLSC made the initial appointment prior to Moti's arrest in PNG, there was no "intimidation" or pressure being exert on any member of the JLSC. This is the part the CJ wanted to correct when he wrote to Dr. Sikua. We must not be confused with any allegation of "intimidation" being put upon the Permanent Secretary for Public Service or the PSC itself by Sogavare's government. Perhaps, this is what Mr. Teddie actually meant when he said that "someone is clearly not thinking properly or was forced to think improperly". That "someone" was the PS for the Public Service on the behest of Sogavare's government, not the JLSC.

As we all know the decision to advise the GG to administer the Oath of Office to Moti (the final process in the appointment of an AG) came from the PS to the Public Service, not the JLSC or PSC. We must, therefore, not confuse ourselves with the role of the JLSC.

Finally, when the CJ wrote to Dr. Sikua, as reported by the local media, the CJ was acting as the Chairman of the JLSC. He was not writing as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Solomon Islands. Hence, Mr. Teddie's reference to the "neutrality of himself and the judicial system he represents" was clearly unfounded and demonstrate a lack of understanding of the work of the JLSC.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Andy D Muaki and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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