AMIDST criticism that he should not be in office having been stripped of the regional seat by the National Court, Sir Arnold Amet insists he has legal backing to continue to be Madang governor.
Sir Arnold’s election as Madang regional MP was nullified by the court last year, due to a petition by Peter Yama.
An appeal has been lodged, and a decision is pending.
Madang leaders have raised concern about the length of time it was taking the Supreme Court to hand down the decision.
Some have said the delay was causing anxiety for both Sir Arnold and Mr Yama as well as their supporters.
And because Sir Arnold continues to be the governor, questions have been raised, prompting Sir Arnold to go public to clarify the law.
Sir Arnold said his action to remain governor was in line with the Organic Law on the provincial and local level governments, specifically section 19 2(e) and section 19 (4) which refers to a provincial governor being allowed to continue in office until the election of the next provincial governor.
He said when the governor was a Member of the National Parliament, other than the provincial member, then the situation would be different, as in the case of James Yali, who was member for Rai Coast but was elected governor and then dismissed.
This left a vacancy when he was convicted and jailed for rape.
“I was elected as the provincial member, and therefore, I rightly remain as governor until a new governor is elected. My status is clear by law,” Sir Arnold said.
The explanation of the law by Sir Arnold now raises the question of whether East Sepik governor Peter Wararu was legally in office in the period he was not holding the seat of Yangoru-Saussia.
Mr Wararu was ousted by the National Court and was later reinstated by the Supreme Court, but did not vacate the governor’s post in the intervening period.