Papua New Guinea
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Court orders withdrawal of Manam funds case

The Madang Committal Court on Friday 3rd June ruled to withdraw the criminal charges laid against Madang Governor Peter Yama and 15 others for the alleged misuse of K6 million Manam Resettlement Funds.

Police prosecutions, on Wednesday 1st June, made a submission to court to withdraw the case, while lawyers representing Yama and the 15, made a submission to dismiss the case. That same afternoon, the court moved to make the ruling on Friday, and did so by ordering the case be withdrawn.

Committal Court Magistrate Alex Kalandi ordered that the defendant`s argument to dismiss the proceeding notwithstanding the application to withdraw the information against all the defendants is not allowed. He further ordered that the prosecution application to withdraw the information against all the defendants is granted pursuant to section 197 (2) of the constitution and section 61A of the District Court Act.

Kalandi further ordered that the committal court lacks jurisdiction to revisit the orders made on October 30th 2020 and 11th November 2020, on the basis that it brings up the issue on the validity of the search warrant.

Order number four, made five subsequential orders as a result of the court granting the application for withdrawal of the information against all charges against the defendant. The subsequent orders were as follows, 

  1. The order of the court by magistrate Fridolin Kambibel of the 30th October 2020 and that of Magistrate George Epor on the 11th November 2020 are still valid unless and until a court of competent jurisdiction higher than the court that made those orders set them aside , vary them or revoke them
  2. Pending any application to a higher court of higher jurisdiction then the court that made these orders referred to in (A), the police are to abide and respect the orders as they are to abide and respect the orders as they are, regardless of the nature of the terms of the orders pursuant to Section 197 (1) (b) of the constitution.
  3. The police are restrained from use of any documents obtained as a result of the search warrant to lay charges and prosecute the defendant on the same charges pending the currency of the court orders of the Search Warrant.
  4. The police are at liberty to exercise their constitutional powers pursuant to section 197(2) of the constitution against the defendants on any other alleged offences other than those formed the bases of the proceedings.
  5. The police are further at liberty to exercise their constitutional powers pursuant to section 197(2) of the constitution against these defendants on the same charges in the event of court of competent jurisdictions higher than this court varies set aside or revokes the order on the bases of the Search Warrant in SW82/2020.

In order five, the court ordered that all the defendants are therefore discharged on all the charges leveled against them pursuant to section 61A (3) of the District Court.  Magistrate Kalandi also ordered that the defendants bail money be refunded and the parties to meet their own cost.

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