The Leadership Tribunal is part and partial of the National Court registry and is considered as one of the many tracks or sections of the registry. It is currently based in Waigani and only main function, is to register, manage and administer tribunal files and documents filed in them. The staff register files, receive, seal and file documents by parties during the course of the tribunal proceedings. And also it is the main contact point for lawyers and others during the existence of the tribunal.
The staff also assists in logistics and other administrative matters relating to tribunal travel and so forth. We have one officer in the section and he is Mr Pesolo Sarohafa.
A Leadership Tribunal is a tribunal which is set up primarily to investigate allegations of misconduct in office of Leaders or Constitutional Officer Holders, such as, parliamentarians, judges, departmental heads and any office bearer of government departments or public statutory bodies in Papua New Guinea. As specified by the Constitution and other laws.
The leadership tribunal is a quasi- judicial inquiry, which consists of a three man panel adjudicators, the chairman, who is usually a judge and two magistrates, as members. The makeup of this panel may vary according to the leader being referred. For example, if the referred leader is Prime Minister or a Chief Justice, foreign Judges may be used as members of the tribunal, such as in the 2011 case of Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare who went before a tribunal of foreign Judges, to hear the allegations against him of misconduct in office. Tribunals inquire into allegations of breaches of the Organic Law on Duties and Responsibilities of a Leader and Constitution by leader, such decisions are made by the authority appointing the tribunal members. It proceeds like a normal court case with all procedures, but differs in how evidence is presented in court, tribunals practise lose parameters on presentation of evidence.
When a tribunal commences a referred leader is automatically suspended from office until the completion or suspension of the tribunal which was set up for the referred leader. There are three penalties given to those leaders found guilty of misconduct in office:
- Dismissal from office, which means a leader is dismissed from his current office, if found guilty and cannot hold a constitutional office for 3 years.
- Suspension from office, for a time of no more than 3 months.
The leadership tribunal is part and partial of the National Court registry and is considered as one of the many tracks or sections in the registry. It is currently based in Waigani and has only one officer, Pesolo Sarohafa who is tasked with its day to day running.
Process of Establishing a Leadership Tribunal
- Public lodges their complaints of a leaders conduct in office, to the Ombudsman Commission.
- Ombudsman Commission investigates allegations of leader’s misconduct in office.
- If sufficient evidence found of leader’s misconduct in office, Ombudsman Commission decided and refers to the leader to the Public Prosecutor.
- The Public Prosecutor assesses the referred case to see if there is any cause to prosecute.
- The Public Prosecutor then refers the leader to the Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea to appoint and set up a leadership Tribunal to inquire into the allegations of misconduct in office.
- A tribunal is appointed by the chief Justice and the tribunal commences.
All quires can be made to here.