By PISAI GUMAR
Seven Morobe local level government presidents remain on provincial government payroll despite losing in the 2017 general election.
This is in direct defiance of an instruction by Minister for Inter-Government Relations Kevin Isifu that LLG members who contested the election should not hold office after they had failed.
“All the LLG members who made their personal decision to contest for the national election are no longer part of the LLG system and should not come back and cause unnecessary inconvenience,” Isifu said.
Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu and administrator Sheila Harou can’t do much as the seven LLG presidents have taken the matter to court.
In Morobe, eight LLG presidents –Charlie Foike, Michael Poane, Jackty Yotipo, Patrick Bassa, Thomas Kapi, Epemu Kiwenu, Daki Mao and Judas Nalau – contested the general election.
Bassa won the Kabwum Open seat while the rest lost.
Saonu said the LLG presidents sought legal interpretation over a circular from former Minister for Inter-Government Relations Sir Leo Dion on March 28 that LLG members should resign to contest the election.
“In the case of Morobe, the LLG presidents took the matter to National Court, which instructed the provincial government to reinstate them back only as presidents,” he said.
Saonu said the Morobe government upheld court the instructions without conferring any provincial portfolios on them.
The presidents argued that there was no specific clause in the Organic Law on Provincial and Local level Government (OLPLLG) that required a president, mayor or councillor to resign before contesting in election.
By PISAI GUMAR