PANEL direction Lawful

It is an agreed fact that the recommendation that Chief Inspector Albert Nalpini is the better man for the vacant position of the Police Commissioner was made by a lawfully constituted panel.

During the trial of a judicial review case yesterday of Nalpini against the Police Service Commission, Minister of Internal Affairs, and the Head of State, questions were raised over why the recommendation was never forwarded to the President to make the appointment.

Nalpini and the former Police Service Commission Chairman, Api Jack Marikembo first took the witness stand yesterday morning to testify for the claimant.

The case hinges on a decision of the Supreme Court that ruled that the termination of Marikembo was illegal.

It was during Marikembo’s chairmanship that Nalpini’s name was recommended as the most suitable candidate for the top Police post.

Since Markembo’s termination was ruled illegal, it is an agreed fact that the recommendation of Nalpini was lawful.

Justice Paul Geoghegan joins the claimant’s counsel, Less Napuati to question more than once why there was never any attempt by the current Police Service Commission to follow through the appointment where the former Commission left.

“Why are we here when a lawfully constituted panel has already made a recommendation?"

The same question was thrown to some of the Respondent’s witnesses by Mr Napuati.

Secretary of the PSC Joe Boe answered that because the recommendation was made by the past commission and that he received instructions from the State law Office to hold on to the instrument of appointment.

The current PSC Chairman, Willie Vira’s answer to that same question is the recommendation was made by a past commission hence he can’t proceed with it and that by the time the court ruled that the termination of Marikembo was unlawful, the position of the Police Commissioner was already advertised.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Maoh said it was the decision and role of the PSC to take up the recommendation to the President after consulting him. He said the PSC is an independent institution.

The argument of the State is that the President was never notified of a meeting requested by the Police Service Commission to inform him of the recommendation of Mr Nalpini.

But on the assumption that the President was never notified, the Claimant is seeking orders from the court for the current commission to forward the recommendation to the President for appointment.

“Often in Vanuatu things are done the hard way rather than the easy way,” said Geoghegan.

He also questions why there has never been any meeting between all legal counsels and their clients including the Minister if needed be to try to narrow down the issue.

So far the issue of the holdup of the appointment was entirely upon the issue of the termination of Marikembo and no party seemed to have any problems with Nalpini’s candidature for the position of Commissioner

At the end of trial yesterday afternoon the Supreme Court Judge suggested for the parties to meet and discuss the possibility of resolving the issue.

The case has been adjourned to 10 am today.

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