OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ABG CHIEF SECRETARY ON POST COURIER ARTICLE ON COURT DECISION DISMISSING ABG'S APPEAL
I refer to the news article titled, “Bench dismisses Himata’s appeal”, published in page 23 of the Post Courier dated Monday 11 October 2021 under the Bougainville news headline.
The news article reported several decisions from the trial judge at the National Court in Buka and onto two stay applications before Hartshorn J sitting as a Single Judge of the Supreme Court and the second before the Three-Men Supreme Court Bench, at Waigani.
The entire contents of the article reported were factually incorrect and misleading. The correct version of the facts is stated against each of the column and paragraph of the article reported, as follows;
Column 1- The appeal against the National Court decision of 11 August 2021 that reinstated Nancy Warkia to the Bougainville Public Service payroll, pending the determination of the appeal before the Bougainville Public Service Commission (PSC), was not dismissed and still pending final determination;
Column 2-The Three-Men Bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the stay application by the Appellants and not the Appeal. The Appeal is still pending for final determination.
Column 3- The National Court in Buka did not find the termination of Nancy Warkia as unlawful. There was no such order from the Court.
Column 3 Paragraph 2-The Supreme Court Bench did not order for ABG to pay Nancy Warika’s costs of proceeding, but to pay the costs of the stay application that was dismissed.
Column 4 Paragraph 1- Both Defendants at the National Court defended the decision that terminated Nancy Warkia from the Bougainville Public Service as, a lawful decision for a cause.
Column 4 Paragraph 2-The National Court refused leave to Nancy Warkia at the National Court because six days after appeal to the PSC she filed the judicial review application to have the court review the same decision appealed before PSC. The PSC had 90 days to deliberate on the appeal and when appeal is still pending determination, she applied to the court for Judicial Review. The Court refused leave to Nancy Warkia because she failed to exhaust the administrative appeal process, and not because the Defendants had not contested the issue of unlawfulness of her termination.
After refusal of leave to Nancy Warkia, the Court at its own volition ordered for reinstatement of Nancy Warkia to Bougainville Public Service payroll pending the determination of the appeal before the PSC;
Column 5- The Appeal by Shadrach Himata as Acting Chief Secretary and ABG was not dismissed. It was the stay applications that were refused by the Court. It is not correct to say that the appeal was dismissed. The Appeal is still pending.
While I make this statement to clarify the facts surrounding the termination of Nancy Warkia in the Bougainville Public Service, I am calling on the mainstream media to get the facts right before publishing any article. The article published by Post Court is misleading in its entirety, hence, I strongly request that the Post Courier retracts this news article immediately and publish further article to verify the facts.
Given that the appeal is still pending before the PSC and the Supreme Court, I cannot comment further on it, but I would like to use this opportunity to place on record that the ABG stands by its decisions of the 8th of April 2021 and 19th April 2021.
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