BRING BACK LEADERSHIP CODE

By John Peleu

I wish to remind everyone first and foremost that no one is above the law, even the Prime Minister.

However, having said that, we must take into consideration that our current PM, Hon. Peter O’Neill swore an oath to protect the Office of the Prime Minister and its function when elected in 2011, and again after the elections in August of 2012.

At current we face division amongst our own people, including our law enforcement officers. Many support a warrant of arrest that was signed by the Chief Magistrate Ms. Nerrie Eliakim in 2014 to have our PM arrested over allegations of his involvement with the Paraka scandal.

I agree that our peoples’ voice must be heard, however since independence, no Prime Minister has handed himself into Police for questioning over allegations on corruption, until tried by the Leadership Tribunal.

Why because there is a process in this country we have always followed when leaders were suspected of, or found to have breached the leadership code.

According to the Constitutional Planning Committee Report 1974, Chapter Three (3) under the Leadership Code gives definition and also examples of the LC.

2. Our notion of a “leader” is not confined to the Ministers, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and other members of the National Parliament, since they are not the only people who hold official positions of significant power, authority or influence in our
country. Senior public servants, senior Police and Defence officers, constitutional office- holders (including judges and magistrates), senior officers of statutory bodies and boards, government nominated directors and general managers of corporations, members of provincial assemblies and senior officers employed by provincial governments, senior staff of Ministers and Opposition leaders, members of the Advisory Committee on Citizenship Matters, and presidents, chairmen and mayors of local bodies exercising governmental functions (e.g. local government councils and associations such as Warakarai na Gunan and Greater Toma “Council”), senior administrative officers of these bodies, academic and senior administrative staff of tertiary institutions, office-holders of registered industrial organizations, ambassadors, high commissioners and senior diplomatic officers, and office-holders at the national level of registered political parties –
all of these people, we believe, should be regarded as leaders for the purposes of this Chapter.

When a complaint is made through the Office of the Ombudsman Commission, a case is presented to the Public Prosecutor who then recommends for hearing by a special court, known as the Leadership Tribunal.

And for every leader investigated, a Leadership Tribunal carries out an important function to pursue its investigations and findings before instituting court proceedings before passing judgement over a leader’s conduct in office.

That is the process we practice in our democratic country, and not subject to normal investigations by officers within the police force who operate on their own accord.

The Leadership Tribunal are assisted by the findings from our police.

Whilst there is growing support for investigations carried out by our National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate, we must also let the investigations follow a proper process that adheres to the Leadership Code.

And of all people, it is fair that the Police Commissioner understand the repercussion by setting a very dangerous precedent if he does not control his officers at this juncture.

We must also take into consideration how the entire investigations was influenced by a group of politicians in 2013, who visited the Office of the Police Commissioner who at the time was Mr Thomas Kulunga, and made an official complaint. They also visited the Office of the Ombudsman Commission and the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate.

Take note that a formal complaint to investigate the current PM was done by politicians. Therefore the investigations is politically tied and can be seen as a means in overthrowing the current government.

If so, then the victors will be politicians and not our people.

This trend is a very dangerous trend and sets a dangerous precedence where future Prime Ministers can be overthrown through the same notion.

We must always remember that leaders, even though are subject to law, must be tried by a Leadership Tribunal.

Every citizen is subjected to the rule of law, however the rule of law currently practiced, promotes a vigilante style noted as unprecedented and canny.

We cannot allow a precedence to be set whereby a Prime Minister is subjected to a vigilante police investigation without observing proper processes in place.

Therefore, we have an obligation to support our current Prime Minister in making sure, a similar incident never occurs in the future.

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