Biyama replaces Wobiro

Papua

By DEMAS TIEN
MIDDLE Fly MP Roy Biyama will perform the duties of the governor of Western, the Waigani National Court ruled on Friday.
Justice Hitelai Polume Kiele ruled that following the sentencing of former governor Ati Wobiro to 14 years imprisonment for conspiracy and misappropriation, there was a vacancy in the office of the governor.
The court ruled that the province needed to operate and the assembly members had taken the right step to elect Biyama as the new governor for Western. The court made the rulings on Friday after Wobiro, through his lawyer, moved a motion seeking orders to stay the enforcement of the resolution passed by the assembly members on Feb 13, which elected Biyama as governor.
The motion also sought an order to restrain Biyama from performing the duties, functions and responsibilities of the governor.
The court refused to grant the orders.
The court ruled that the balance of convenience did not favour the grant of the orders and the interest of justice favoured the people.
The court ruled that the people of Western needed a governor in office to run the province.
The court further ruled that there was no procedural error in the election of Biyama as the new governor by the assembly members.
The court was of a view that by operation of law there was a vacancy in the office of the governor and the Organic Law provided for an election of a new governor by the assembly members when there was a vacancy.
Wobiro was found guilty of conspiracy and misappropriation of public funds on July 26 last year in relation to a release of four cheques worth about K7 million under his direction to a Fly Care Foundation to be used to carry out projects in the province.
He will serve four years for conspiracy and 10 years for misappropriation.
He filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
His appeal is pending decision.
The assembly, in absence of the Deputy Governor Abini Gesele, held a meeting on Feb 13 and removed Wobiro and elected Biyama as the new governor.

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