The Supreme Court has dismissed on 6 December 2019 an appeal brought by Hon Patrick Pruaitch MP and Member for Aitape-Lumi Electorate against a decision of the National Court to dismiss his legal challenge to his referral by the Ombudsman Commission.
The Commission on 22 July 2009 referred Pruaitch, then Minister for Treasury & Finance to the Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.
Since his referral, the Commission has faced numerous legal challenges from the leader, preventing the Leadership Tribunal from performing its enquiry into the leader’s conduct.
The Supreme Court in its decision of 6 December 2019 made the following orders:
- The appeal is dismissed,
- The referral pending before the Leadership Tribunal must now proceed to a hearing and final determination on its merits by the Leadership Tribunal,
- The Chief Justice shall take all steps necessary to have the Leadership Tribunal reconstituted to enable it to commence its inquiry into the allegations against the Appellant as a matter of urgency,
- The parties are restrained from returning to the National Court or the Supreme Court on any preliminary issue until the Leadership Tribunal had finally come to a decision on each of the allegations constituting the referral pending before the Leadership Tribunal,
- The Appellant shall pay the Respondents’ costs of and incidental to the appeal, such costs to be taxed if not agreed.
The Ombudsman Commission looks forward to the recommencement of the Leadership Tribunal as ordered by the Supreme Court.