LAW AMENDED TO PROSECUTE GLASMAN MERI’
PRIME Minister, James Marape’s determination to address corruption and sorcery-related violence continues with the introduction of three more related bills in Parliament today.
Amendments to the Criminal Code to criminalise purported seers or ‘glasman’ and ‘glasmeri’, their activities, and those who engage their services in the perpetration of Sorcery Accusation Related Violence (SARV) was proposed to Parliament by East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird and passed unanimously on voices.
This is one of the results from the work being carried out by the bi-partisan parliamentary committee from which the amended Criminal Code will now play a big role in addressing SARV in the prosecution and/or the fining of these ‘glassman and glassmeri.’
Prime Minister Marape himself also brought before Parliament the Amendment Bill on the Leadership Code (Alternative Penalties) Act which was unanimously passed today as well.
Amendments proposed in the bill was for the increase in the amount of the fine to K10,000 by the leadership tribunal in cases that do not attract a dismissal from office.
PM Marape said while introducing the bill: “Over the years of implementing Section 31 of the Constitution, it has become clear that there are some offenses that should only attract a fine rather than a harsher penalty. This proposal provides an option for the fines to be administratively imposed so that we avoid very expensive inquiries which may result in just fines being imposed. It addresses both the interest of the State as well as the interest of the leader for these determinations to be made upfront.”
Member for Esa’ala and former Justice Minister and Attorney-General Hon. Davis Steven commended the bill from his side in the Opposition.
He said: “I rise to lend my support to this particular bill and I speak on behalf of the judiciary which has expressed on several occasions through cases that have reviewed the work of the leadership tribunals; our judges have asked for the review of this particular legislation which is intended to increase the amount of the fine when the leader is found guilty. Because in my former life, I know I have represented certain leaders who are still here who have been found guilty and fined only K1000 which is contrary to the expectation of our community at large. And so this is a timely amendment and it should be supported.”
The Amendment Bill on the Organic Law on the Duties & Responsibilities of Leadership, also proposed by the Prime Minister, could not master the two-thirds required majority votes of 74, falling short by four votes. The votes have been rescinded by Parliament and the bill is still going through the readings.
PM Marape thanked Parliament for its unified voice on the passage of bills today and over the recent past:
He said the work before Parliament now is to strengthen and modernise the Ombudsman Commission by cutting down the length of tenure to only two terms and also to bring into the ambit of the Leadership Code those leaders managing the country’s monies in the state-owned enterprises such as Kumul Petroleum Holdings and Kumul Mining.