Updated 31 December
Justice Sawong, one of the two Supreme Court judges who ten days ago approved the dumping of 100 million tons of toxic waste from the Ramu mine into the sea off the coast of Madang, has a rather strong connection to the contested politics of Papua New Guinea and links to the discredited Somare regime and Chinese miner, MCC.
In 2007, Justice Sawong resigned from the judges bench to contest the Kabwum seat in Morobe Province in the National Election. Sawong fought the election as a member of the New Generation Party. Despite the electorate having one of the smallest candidate lists in the election, Sawong finished second to Bob Dadae and after the election he returned to the bench.
It will be interesting to see if Sawong again resigns to contest the 2012 election and, if he does, lets keep a close eye on who funds his campaign.
MCC, the Chinese state owned corporation that operates the Ramu mine is known to be an enthusiastic funder of the Somare’s and their National Alliance party, with their strong ‘Look North’ focus. Although Sawong’s New Generation Party is an arch rival to the Somare camp having been set up by Bart Philemon when he broke with Somare, one NGP MP has been a loyal supporter of the NA led government.
New Generation Party MP Francis Potape is, according to the Somare camp, the current Energy Minister in the Somare government sworn in by the Governor General on December 14. This is despite Potape having been charged in November with fraud and misappropriation in a case first exposed on the PNGExposed blog in Oct 2010.
Lets hope that politics did not sway Justice Sawong’s judgement in the recent case.