Saturday, April 11, 2009

Former Chief Justice Late Sir Mari Kapi Was A Role Model

A Humble Servant of God went to be with the Lord

Former Chief Justice Late Sir Mari Kapi

I met this humble man back in 2002 at the Papua New Guinea (PNG) University of Technology. This was the time when Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (TSCF) of PNG Inc hosted its annual Easter conference from March 29th to 31st Easter Weekend.

I was one of those coordinators organizing the entire conference. We had the privilege to invite then Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Allan Marat, then Chief Justice (CJ) late Sir Mari Kapi (while he was serving as the deputy CJ) with other dignitaries. About 500 students from all the Tertiary and Secondary Institutions in PNG attended the conference. They had the privilege to meet Sir Kapi.

The Late Sir Kapi was a down-to-earth person. He speaks in a low tone and words of wisdom and knowledge would always flow out from him. He was a man of God and we would see God’s glory upon his life. He was indeed a role model not only to the Justice System in PNG but also among educational institutions and communities throughout the nation.

I had a privilege to sit under his counsel many a times. We decided to become prayer partners since then. I would remember him in my prayers whenever Lord leads me to pray for him. I would pray for his relationship with the Lord, his health, his family, his career and job.

Late Sir Kapi was one of the pioneers and founders of TSCF in PNG. He served as a patron of TSCF until his death. Whenever the TSCF students invite him to share with them, he would always make time available even in the midst of his busy schedules.

I would talk to him about leadership. He would say, “Son, leadership is all about serving people and when you serve people, you will influence them to follow you on the right path. Lead them to the right path. Leadership is all about identifying people’s needs, being in their shoes and making the right decisions for the benefits of the people.” These were the words that Sir Kapi shared with me some 6 years ago but they still rings in my heart. He had somehow shaped not only mine but many people’s lives. His words of wisdom will always guide and shape our lives.

Sir Kapi was a man after God’s own heart. He would dance and sing for the Lord even in front of Prime Ministers, Vice Chancellors, dignitaries and people that worked under him when he was the Chief Justice serving not only in PNG but also in Australian Justice System, New Zealand Justice system and other pacific island countries. Sir Kapi was a man of integrity and principles. He left a legacy behind. He would love to share God’s love with people he comes to meet in his life. He lived a life to the fullest. He was a hero and a role model.

It would just humble me to see how the man of his caliber would worship God without fear and doubt. He was a “rare breed” God raised him up and He took him away on the 25th of March 2009 at 5 pm in Singapore.

Truly those of us who came to know this man of God will miss him dearly. We are, on the other hand, joyous that we will meet him again in Heaven. I wish to extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to his wife Lady Tegana, children, grand children, relatives and friends. We are praying for you at this time of sorrow.

Jeffers Teargun Heptol
President of Christian Students Ministry (Northern China)
Former TSCF National Associate Staff - Madang Region
Former TSCF Vice President - University of Technology

Below are the news articles taken from Post Courier about this man of God.

FORMER Chief Justice Sir Mari Kapi died yesterday. He was 58. He died while awaiting a kidney transplant operation in Singapore. His son Guria confirmed his death at around 5pm yesterday.

Sir Mari and his wife Lady Tegana have been in Singapore since January preparing for the kidney transfer from his younger brother Mari Gerea.Apart from the donor, other family members were also with him when he died. The latest news reaching his relatives as of Tuesday was that he was having an irregular heart beat, and that the operation to transfer the kidney had been deferred.

Sir Mari had spent almost 30 years as a National and Supreme Court judge and part of that as Chief Justice. He was also the first Papua New Guinean to be appointed a judge. In a farewell hosted for him last year, current Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia described him as one of the top national jurists this country had produced.“He is the perfect role model and any one of us in the legal profession should try to emulate him, but to be realistic, none of us will ever achieve what he has done,” Sir Salamo said.

Sir Mari ‘comes home’

THE body of the late former chief justice Sir Mari Kapi arrived at Port Moresby yesterday morning from Singapore.

Family, friends and the military bearer party received Sir Mari’s casket, draped in the national flag, when it arrived at the Jackson International Airport.

Lady Tegana Kapi accompanied her husband’s body back to the country. The casket was taken to the Funeral Home and was later taken to his home for family members to pay their respects.

Meanwhile, there will be a ceremonial sitting of the National and Supreme Courts in honour of Sir Mari from 8:30am to 9:30am tomorrow.

A statement released by the registrar of the National and Supreme Courts Ian Augerea yesterday advised judges, magistrates, lawyers, staff of the National Judicial Staff Services and the public of the ceremonial sitting in Courtroom One and all magistrates and lawyers were asked to be robed for this occasion

A funeral service for Sir Mari will be held after the ceremonial sitting at the Sione Kami Memorial church from 10am onwards.

He was appointed chief justice on Aug 16, 2003, and resigned last Nov 21 due to ill health. Sir Mari passed away last March 25 while in Singapore seeking medical treatment for kidney failure. He was 58 years old.

Late Justice Jalina Moses

The Lord has been faithful to me to meet people on my way up. Not only those people who come under TSCF but also people of all sectors in the community. One of them was Former Chief Justice Late Sir Mari Kapi. Another one who Lord brought into my life was late residential judge justice Moses Jalina.

These were the people who have had great influence over my life. It will take much time and/or find it hard to replace them but I appreciate for what they have invested in my life. I thank God for their lives.

Below is an article I wrote to The National in PNG to pass my heart-felt condolence message to the family of Late Justice Jalina Moses. The articles followed are both taken from The National and Post Courier.

ECSA pays tribute to late Justice Jalina
The National Monday 24th Dec 2007

I WAS sad to read about the sudden death of Justice Moses Jalina. On behalf of the Enga Christian Students Association (ECSA), I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his wife Kessi, children, relatives and friends. We uphold you all in our prayers and share the sadness together at this time of sorrow.

Many Enga students remember how Justice Jalina had influenced our lives. He was devoted to ECSA and imparted wisdom and godly values not only to the lives of the students but also the graduate community in Enga.

“My dear students, let us go out into our communities and ‘shoot down’ the Goliath of tribal warfare in our province”. These were the touching words of a humble judge, who lived a transparent and balanced life.

Enga students admired Justice Jalina because of his down-to-earth attitude and had quality time for the students even in the midst of his busy schedules. Many Enga students never had a chance to talk to any national judge except with Justice Jalina.

He was such a colourful man who had a heart for whole of Enga province.
For sure, we will miss you during our annual conventions when you used to put your hands up first.
We thank you for all that you have imparted into our lives. Our love is with you always.

Jeffers Teargun Heptol
Former President of Enga Christian Students Association
Shenyang, China

Enga farewells Justice Jalina

THE people of Enga mourned the untimely death of their resident judge, Justice Moses Jalina in a big way on Monday.

People stood motionless along the Highlands Highway from the Western Highlands border as the body of their judge was driven past in a long motorcade for public mourning in Wabag town where hundreds of people waited. Pallbearers from Mukurumanda Correctional Institution removed the casket from the ambulance and passed through a police guard of honour immediately followed by acting Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, Justice Hinchliffe, Justice Gavera-Nanu, Justice Batari, Justice Davani, Justice Mogish, Justice Canning, Mrs Salika and members of the legal fraternity.
Justice Jalina’s wife Kessi and her children, Ron, Johnson, Junior, Carmon, Jonathan, Jacinta and Esther and other relatives were also accompanied by Kandep MP and Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, Don Polye, Mul Baiyer MP and Minister for Internal Security, Sani Rambi, and other leaders.

Sir Salamo handed the body over to Governor Peter Ipatas, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Sam Abal, Enga provincial assembly members and provincial administrator, Dr Samson Amean who all broke down and wept openly.

People from nearby tribes and church denominations who were covered in mud came in droves to mourn their judge in true Engan mourning style. Shops were closed and there was no movement of people or vehicles for as long as the body of the late judge lay in state in Wabag town.

In Enga, people go to funerals with lots of food, firewood and sugarcane but because there was to be no funeral feast in Wabag, people contributed K14,427 on the spot for the family to take back home. In addition, the Enga Provincial Government gave a cheque for K50,000 on behalf of the people who were not able to come to the funeral because of the Christmas period.

“He was our brother. To Engans, he was not a judge but our brother and we miss him,” said Mr Abal, who was the administrator of the province when Justice Jalina was installed in Enga. “I haven’t seen anywhere where people cry like you did today. You have broken my heart,” said Ron Jalina, an adopted son of the late judge, who is an engineer by profession.

“Governor Ipatas, you brought my father here, you looked after him well, ‘yu wanpela fit man’, thank you,’’ he said.

A state funeral will be held in Port Moresby tomorrow after which the body will be flown to Rabaul on Saturday to be finally laid to rest at his wife, Kessi’s village.
Justice Jalina collapsed and died at 10.30am at Kagamuga Airport near Mt Hagen on arrival from Port Moresby on December 18.

The late Judge had a high regard for Enga

ENGA is the home of brother judges, Sir Salamo Injia DCJ and Ambang Kandakasi J.
Yet it was the Sepik, Justice Moses Jalina, who made it his home for the last seven years.

The sentence is written in the past tense, for Justice Jalina died last week.
As with all judges, Justice Jalina was well-known by his work but a very private individual. In a very rare disclosure once, he talked about his work in Enga, which he claimed was his most-rewarding and which we now know to have been his last.
A little of Jalina, the man, came through in that conversation which I held with him in 2005.

Justice Jalina went to Enga in May 2000, filled with dread, he said, and fearing for his own life and that of Kessie, his wife, and their young children. And why not?
Everybody else not Engan dreads the place and fears its people. Enga’s reputation for homicide reaches far and wide and few want to volunteer postings or investment in the province. The Judge was in for a pleasant surprise.

“I find myself more secure in Enga than anywhere else I have been,” he said.
“You fear Engans for nothing. “They know who their enemies are. “They do not attack outsiders.”

A tremendous vote-of-confidence in Enga from their judge, who once pronounced the death sentence upon a prisoner and in the same evening, was seen dropping off members of his congregation to their homes without police escort to the consternation of all.

He has driven through warring clans and has had armed people step aside to let his car pass and then continue their grisly business. The people’s sense of justice is acute, he said. “As long as justice is fairly dispensed there are few who argue.”
Enga’s reputation for high homicide incidences is true, he said.

Murder, willful murder, and grievous bodily injury comprise the bulk of cases which came before his honor at the Wabag National Court. Most of these related to payback killings or to domestic violence, mostly between feuding wives. None of these related to killings in tribal fights.

In those cases the people tend to settle the matter out of court in the age-old way or through mediation and “which pays far more dividends than if the matter were to be brought to court” according to Justice Jalina. The Engans provided another surprise for the Judge. Here, he faced the least number of rapes, break and enter cases and other criminal acts which he had encountered in all the other postings he had around the country in the 18 years of service to the judiciary as a judge.
Whatever the case, he dispensed justice as he had always done –firmly and fairly - after he had digested all the evidence before him. Slowly at first, and then in increasing numbers, the people of this province responded.

From a mere trickle of cases in 2000, the cases grew until soon it became necessary for the Judge to dispense justice in selected districts, beginning in Porgera.
In this manner, Justice Jalina slowly brought the court out to the people in a province where previously, such an act was considered foolhardy. “One thing I would like to see people do here is to bring law breakers to the court,” he said.
“And since they are hesitant to do that either because they do not see the use or are unaware of the law, I bring the court out to the people.”“It would help if educated Engans were to return home and assist in this education process.

“It is one thing for us outsiders to tell them but it would be so much more effective if educated Engans were to tell it to their people in their own language.”
A general comment, to be sure, but its underlying meaning will not be lost on Enga’s two judges and its many lawyers. Justice Jalina worked hard with the community on another level which also endeared him to many Engans.

He wanted to build inner peace within the individual and among communities through his work with through the ministry of the Association of Local Churches. “One thing that keeps me here is that I have been a born-again Christian for a long time,” he told me.

“It gives me peace to be here. I want to do my bit to help these people change.
“I want them to have inner peace which will manifest itself outwardly in a law abiding person.”

Engans showed the respect and admiration they had for Justice Jalina in a big way on Christmas Eve. Tears flowed freely for most, a moment they shall never forget, as the body of their late Judge travelled in a motorcade from Mount Hagen to Wabag.
In emotional scenes, mud-covered people from nearby tribes and church denominations came in droves to mourn Justice Jalina in typical Engan style.

They freely contributed what little money they had to his family. His wife and children, brother Judges and Engan leaders all joined in the mourning for a man, who although not from the province, came to be regarded as a true son of Enga. Perhaps the saddest words from came the Judge’s adopted son Ron: “I haven’t seen anywhere where people cry like you did today. “You have broken my heart.”

A State funeral will be held in Port Moresby today after which the body will be flown to Rabaul tomorrow to be laid to rest at wife Kessie’s village.
Justice Jalina collapsed and died at 10.30am at Kagamuga Airport near Mt Hagen on arrival from Port Moresby on December 18.

Legal fraternity pays respect to Jalina

ATTORNEY-General Dr Alan Marat has described late National and Supreme Court judge Justice Moses Jalina as a man with “an unblemished integrity”. Dr Marat was speaking at a special ceremonial sitting at the Waigani Court House last Friday where members of the legal fraternity, judiciary and family and friends turned up to bade their last respects to Justice Jalina.

The ceremony was held in Court Room 1, which was the last court room where the late judge sat in a day before he passed away in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, on Dec 18.
Acting Governor-General and Chief Justice Sir Mari Kapi with his wife, Lady Tegana, were also present at the ceremony.

Also present were retired judge Kubulan Los with his wife, senior magistrates and lawyers including the late judge’s wife Kessie and their children.
The casket with the body of the late judge was set before the Deputy Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia by military pall bearers.

Sir Salamo gave a brief history of the late judge and read out his credentials, saying that he had received the Order of British Empire (OBE) from the Queen.
He also described late Justice Jalina as a hardworking and humble man who gave quality service to his people, in particularly the people of Enga for the last seven years.

Sir Salamo said out of the 40 judges in the Judiciary, the late Justice Jalina was ranked fifth in seniority. He said the Judiciary had lost one of the most dedicated judges through heart-related causes. He said the late Justice Jalina was always a fair, dedicated and committed hardworking judge.

Sir Salamo said his death would now leave a permanent hole and absence within the judiciary and his brother and sister judges would miss his presence very much.
He said the late judge’s charismatic qualities touched the lives of many people as was evident with the huge turn up at his funeral service in Wabag, Enga. The late judge lost his parents as a young man – his mother died when he was in Grade 5 while his father passed away when he entered high school in Wosera, East Sepik. He continued on to the University of Papua New Guinea to take up law from 1972 to 1976.
In 1977 he went to the Legal Training Institute (LTI), and it was then that he married his wife, Kessie Jalina.

He did a year in private practice before joining the State Solicitors as a State lawyer before being appointed a judge. Dr Marrat said Justice Jalina was a “fighter” throughout his childhood and as a young man. He said the late judge and him did their four years at law school together including LTI.

“He lived a very rich life ... the quality of his performance on the bench was of high standards,” Dr Marat said. He said Justice Jalina was a “spiritual man” with “an unblemished integrity”.

President of the Law Society Kerenga Kua said the late judge was “a hardworking and committed” person. He said Justice Jalina had left a legacy of precedent reported cases in the PNG Law Reports to help lawyers. Mr Kua said he had sighted about 481 case judgments that would survive for generations to help assist lawyers and litigants.

A seat between Justice Timothy Hinchliffe and Justice Les Gavara-Nanu was left vacant during the special ceremonial sitting to show where the late judge used to be seated.

Jalina laid to rest today
By LUTHER SCAT LAMANG Monday 31st Dec 2007

LATE Justice Moses Jalina is to be laid to rest today in his wife’s village of Ravat, East New Britain, granting a wish the judge himself made to his wife three years ago.

“It was his wish some three years ago that he wanted to be buried here should he die, and so to honour his wish we will do just that,” Kessie Jalina said.
Justice Jalina is from Wosera in East Sepik province. Jalina, 57, collapsed and died in Mt Hagen on Dec 18.

A funeral service and the handing over of the body of the judge to his relatives by Deputy Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and Kokopo resident judge Justice Salatiel Lenalia will take place today.

After a memorial service in Port Moresby last Friday, the body of the judge was flown to East New Britain last Saturday. Late Justice Jalina’s casket arrived at Tokua on an Air Niugini flight in the company of his wife Kessie, children and relatives. Also accompanying the body was Rabaul MP and Minister for Justice Dr Allan Marat, Deputy Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Justice Ellenas Batari, Justice Les Gavara-Nanu, Justice Allan David, Justice Cathy Davani and the wife of Justice Gibbs Salika representing the judge.

Representatives from the Enga and East Sepik provincial government were also there.
The casket was received with a guard of honour staged by the members of the police and Correctional Services.

A procession began at Tokua Airport with a convoy of more than 30 vehicles into Kokopo town, where people stopped to pay their respects. The convoy stopped for two minutes at the Kokopo Court House, where Justice Jalina once presided as resident judge, and then proceeded on to Ravat village.


  1. Sometimes I wonder why good people suddenly pass away. Man of God have more duties than normal people. God should protect and heal..provide and care. For good people to collapse and die does not make sense.Bible is full of man of God who died at ripe old age serving him and God takes them after their physical body can no longer cope.

    Surely Christians must be conscious of healthy living and healthy food diets. It is our duty to look after our physical bodies by eating better food and restrain from over eating. Animal fat is surely not good for human health due to high density fatty acids associated with heart related problems. Fruits and vegetables and veg animal like cow and young lamps are good for human. PNG has lost so many leaders in their young age due to poor eating habits.
    There are physical sin and spiritual sins. Physical sins results in poor health,diseases,sickness and body goes into agony. Spiritual sin eg gossip ,fornication adultery etc..which only affects the Soul/Spirit. Many Christians misunderstand physical sin to mean spiritual sin and consequently ended up with diseases,sickness etc..Moreover,a christian knowing very well that a poison is a poison and takes into his body will end up dying. Using the knowledge the serve body and spirit is taking responsibilities and being obedience. This is the thing missing in Christians today and life span is very short even for very good Christians!
    James 4:17-Whoever, then, knows what is right to do and does not do it, that is a sin for him”thi sindicates both physical sin and spiritual sin. While it is not good to do certain thing eat or perform while doing it results in problems.
    How many in this society are condemned by that one verse?
    Leaders and christians and community have to address proper food diet and living habits/styles. So far a lot of leaders have collapse and died.
    To die at 50 or less due to physical diseases for christians make Our God far and thus is a mockery to the unbelievers.

  2. Bro,
    I agree with you. Thanks for writing.

    Lord bless you!