By PETER WARI
THE appointment of Southern Highlands provincial health authority board members (PHA) was quashed and declared null and void by the Waigani National Court on Nov 16.
Justice Collin Makail handed down the decision after former Mendi hospital board members, who were the plaintiffs in the case, applied for judicial review of the decision of the National Executive Council to appoint members of the PHA.
The National Court found out that the provincial government had hijacked the process and misled Health Minister Michael Malabag into accepting the list of nominees from PEC because PEC was not an organisation prescribed in Section 17 (2) (a) to (f) to nominate persons or representatives for appointment.
The National Court ruled that:
- The appointment of the PHA board members were not in accordance to law under section 17 of the Provincial Health Authority Act, 2007;
- Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Michael Malabag was told to follow the process as stipulated under the PHA Act to properly nominate members and submit names to NEC; and
- Former Mendi hospital board continue its function as a board while awaiting the appointment process of PHA.
The PHA board members were Dr Goa Tau representing Department of Health, Ambe Keleli representing district affairs, Joe Kunukunu, Alex Awesa and Jacob Iki representing the local business sector, Bishop Wesis Porop representing local religious denominations, a women representative of the community, Peter Nupiri and Rev Mondopa Mini.
One of the plaintiffs, Robert Posu, said the provincial government was at fault for causing inconvenience.