Ramu case Supreme Court Judge has political aspirations

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.

Somare and the NA coalition have a strong 'Look North' policy

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.



Filed under Papua New Guinea

14 responses to “Ramu case Supreme Court Judge has political aspirations

  1. Wesely

    Now this is interesting.
    Given the erratic Bench in PNG the best idea would be to sack the whole lot of them and look south to Australia, fill the bench with Australian Judges, bring the AFP back to PNG, build a massive military base for the US, UN, and Australia at Lae, declare martial law, arrest Tiffany Twaddle for being a richard cranium, arrest both Somare and O’Neil on the grounds that they are both unreliable and lacking in transparency, create a commission of enquiry into the Ramu case, identify a land base for tailings disposal, acquire 30,000 wheelbarrows with matching shovels and give the contract of removing the tailings to the locals, who could then spread it evenly over 100’s of square kilometers of ground, build up and extend the land base and low laying areas of the sea with tailings, protected by the ocean face with rock based bunds, and generally all live happily ever after.

    Happy New Year all.

  2. Tomt Tee

    Hey… New Generation is an enemy to Somare camp. it broke away from Somare for the same reason Polye is fighting. It is lead by Barth Philimon who is an enemy to Somare and is a minister in current O’Neill government. Stop twisting facts idiots…

  3. James Sereti

    Let’s hope politics didn’t enter into the decision. Yea right! Everyone knows what happened!

  4. Wesely

    politics were there, disguised as ‘policy’

  5. gmax

    Tomt Tee is correct, Bart Philemon broke rank with NA to form New Generation Party (NGP) to challenge NA in 2007 National Election. So, how could Don Sawong under NGP have interest in Ramu Nickel Project?

    Please, get your facts rights!

    • The article does not say Sawong has an interest in the Ramu nickel project. It merely points out that Sawong has had political aspirations in the past and may run again this year. It also points out one NGP member has been a loyal Somare supporter, although as you rightly say, and the article acknowledges, NGP was set up by Philemon to oppose Somare.

      • Wesely

        What ou are trying to say is that unlike Justice Canning, the Judges in the Ramu appaeal had undisclosed conflicts of interest and they should have recused them selves from hearing the matter.
        Is that not correct?

      • Wesely

        That’s cowardly dishonest response.
        You were inferring by innuendo that Justice Sawong had a conflict of interest in that he had “links to the discredited Somare regime and Chinese miner, MCC”.
        But this is not the first time you have resorted to cowardly defemation to salve your dented ego.
        How cheap and nasty you are.
        You are are a pathetic lawyer if you have to resort to this level of curial trashing.

  6. gmax

    By the way, I don’t support DSTP and not in favour of the Supreme Court ruling either.

  7. Wesely

    I was not in favour of the litigation and I am glad its come to an end.

  8. j kross

    I was never in favour of any litigation whatsover over this matter. There was never an attempt by the landowners and their legal reps to resolve matters with the responsible state agencies, i.e., DEC & MRA.

    Since they chose to go to court, and having ended up with the highest court in the land, they now own the consequences.

    Stop blaming the judges or MCC, pay up the costs and move on. Remember Tiffany, YOU wanted a court ruling, and you have one. Whether politics entered into the decision or not is a moot point.

  9. Wesely

    J Kross
    She never wanted to enter into any discussions, sought no mediation, offered no alternative solutions, nor anything aimed at an outcome that might be mutually beneficial to all parties.
    All she wanted to do was self-aggrandize, pontificate, ride her broomstick through he sky and create social upheaval and community conflict.
    In short, she behaved like a delinquent depraved schoolgirl.
    Now, like a sulking adolescent incapable of accepting the consequence of her own inept disingenuous and unprofessional conduct, she seeks to blame the universe at large for her own failings.
    But now she has to explain to her clients that they must now pay the costs for the litigation.
    She has to explain to her clients how they must pay and why.
    She must explain to her clients why she no longer has any real power to control or guide or have input into process.
    She must explain to her clients why she has completely failed to bring any positive outcome.
    What horrendous karma she must now carry.
    And NOW SHE MUST PAY the price,

  10. j kross


    That shouldn’t be a problem as they declared having access to very deep pockets.
    REmember that?
    And on the day they lost, they called for bombs and guns. What a lame effort at creating a distraction from the real isue of costs.
    Pay they must.

    • Wesely

      J Kross
      They are no doubts about the “deep pockets” but probably lie her logic, due to the holes in the bottom.
      But pay they must!

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