MP Kikala referred to watchdog

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LAIGAIP-Porgera MP Philip Kikala has been referred to the Ombudsman Commission for possible breach of the Leadership Code for failing to recognise five councillors in his electorate.
Justice Nemo Yalo referred Mr Kikala last week when handing down a ruling on a case brought by the five councillors whom Mr Kikala had not recognised.
Peter Iki, Joseph Yapani, John Pawe, Apetato Pake and Erigie Don Thomas, who are local level government (LLG) presidents of five districts in the Lagaip-Porgera electorate, took legal action when they learned that Mr Kikala and councillors Tera Tandapu and Allan Ekiel had secretly conducted JDP&BPC meetings without notifying them.
They also claimed that Mr Kikala denied them their constitutional right to perform their lawful duties when he allegedly refused to allow them to participate in meetings.
They claimed in their submissions that since his election to Parliament,
Mr Kikala had conducted several JDP&BPC meetings and made important decisions without them knowing, sparking confusion among the councillors.
They further claimed that Mr Kikala also appointed Mr Tandapu and Mr Ekiel as purported presidents of Maip Mulitaka and Lagaip LLG while the duly appointed presidents, Mr Iki and Mr Yapani, were sidelined.
They claimed that Mr Kikala also announced the appointment of the duo in the media and accepted them as presidents in meetings conducted by him (Mr Kikala).
During the court proceedings, Mr Kikala defended his actions. He and others made lengthy statements explaining why they left the five out and proceeded to appoint Mr Tandapu and Mr Ekiel.
In his ruling, Justice Yalo was critical of the conduct of Mr Kikala, describing it as peculiar and unbecoming of the person who holds a leadership post.
The judge said the actions of Mr Kikala denied the rights of the five plaintiffs given to them by the Constitution.
He said Mr Kikala violated the Constitution, and also violated the Leadership Code by behaving in a way that brought the integrity of the office he held into question.
While the judge did not make a direct order to recognise the plaintiffs to their positions for fear of usurping the powers of the District Court, the effect of the ruling is that the five plaintiffs should be recognised as councillors and be made members of the JDP&BPC of that electorate.
The judge also ordered that any allowances paid to Mr Tandapu and Mr Ekiel be repaid to the Department of Treasury, and that Mr Kikala, Mr Tandapu and Mr Ekiel personally pay the cost of the court proceedings, and not the State.
The judge ordered that this be done by the end of this month, and that evidence of this be provided to him.