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Thursday, August 30, 2007

SIG to lodge complaint to Vanuatu government asking them to deal with Court Registrar over Moti claims


Solomon Islands government will be lodging a complaint to the Vanuatu government over its Supreme Court Acting Registrar’s concocted claim on Julian Moti to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force Board of Inquiry.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told Parliament on Tuesday that the Acting Registrar of the Vanuatu Supreme Court had committed a serious crime by making a false claim to the Chairman of the PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry that Mr Moti was still not cleared by the Vanuatu courts for the sex allegations against him (Moti).

“For the information of this house, government is taking up this issue of criminality with Vanuatu to ensure the administration of justice in Melanesia remains pure and uncorrupted by alien influences.”

The PNG Defence Force Inquiry was launched last year to probe into what was described as the ‘clandestine escape’ of Mr Moti from Port Moresby to Solomon Islands after being illegally arrested and detained in the Papua New Guinea capital at the advise of Canberra over the sex allegations.

Mr Sogavare said the chairman of the PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry had publicly announced that Mr Moti was not cleared by the Vanuatu courts based on legal documents he (chairman) claimed to have obtained.

However the Prime Minister said when Mr Moti’s lawyer in PNG challenged the Chairman to the Defence Force Board of Inquiry over his statement, he (chairman) quickly wrote a facsimile to the court registrar requesting copies of the records of the Moti case for his (chairman) perusal.

He said the Vanuatu Supreme Court registrar replied to the Chairman of the PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry saying that the court proceedings against Mr Moti were still pending because Mr Moti had not returned to the Vanuatu jurisdiction but refused to avail copies of the court records.

“Since when have records which are by their very nature –public documents, become inaccessible to the public? How can a mere application for judicial review give rise to a pending proceeding when leave was not sought from nor granted by the court for that application to proceed?

“ How can the Acting Registrar assert that our AG had not returned to the Vanuatu Jurisdiction when he was physically present there in the Supreme Court for the entire duration of the civil phase of the concocted case against him and so many times since then up until March last year.

“Even the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund Board can refute that claim if called to testify because he (Moti) accompanied them there (Vanuatu) to secure the release of MV Ramos two years ago.

“The Acting Registrar has a lot of explaining to do and so does anyone who places so much reliance on the letter that was written to help the Chairman of the Defence Force of Inquiry.

“One would have expected any competent Court Registrar operating a computerized case data retrieval system to type in the AG’s name and hey presto, the most recent case bearing his name would flash instantly to reveal that there was the affidavit filed by former Public Prosecutor confirming that the criminal case against our AG was closed on August 23 1999 when it was dismissed by the magistrate,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister said if the Vanuatu case remained open as the Vanuatu Supreme Court Acting Registrar and the PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry had claimed then the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty was in trouble.

He said Mr Keelty had told the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on oath that the Vanuatu case against Moti was finally closed between February 2nd and March 16th 2005.

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