Friday, 29 April 2011 8:23 AM

Government House Defends Decision

The Government House has defended the Governor General's decision to refuse the appointment of North Malaita MP, Jimmy Lusibaea, as a Cabinet Minister saying any action by the Governor General on the matter could be regarded as contempt of court.

The North Malaita MP was reportedly re-appointed as Fisheries Minister but Governor General Sir Frank Kabui had refused to facilitate the appointment by oath.

North Malaita MP, Jimmy Lusibaea, was sentenced to imprisonment for two years and nine months but was awarded an early release by the Parole Board and the then Police Minister James Tora through the Correctional Services Act.

In a letter to media outlets, the Government House Deputy Private Secretary Rawcliffe Ziza says while section 33 of the constitution requires the Governor General to act on the advice of the Prime Minister in appointing ministers, "the MP appointed must also be free from any legal disqualification stipulated in the constitution."

Mr Ziza says while some lawyers hold the view that the total amount of remission earned reduced his sentence to less than 6 months imprisonment, other lawyers are of the view that the remission simply reduces the time served in custody and does not reduce the original sentence passed by the high court.

"The latter would also argue that only the court of appeal can reduce the sentence and that the parole board is not a court of law to change high court decisions without appeal to the court of appeal," said Mr Ziza.

Mr Ziza says only the high court can decide which the correct legal interpretation is, adding that the issue is now before the High court.

He adds that the government house is interested in the outcome of the case because it will clear the way for further action by the government house and would also set a precedent for the future.


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