JULIA DAIA BORE
THE amendments made to the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local Level Governments (OLPGLLG) are unconstitutional and sections 10(3)(b) and (c) of the OLPGLLG must be restored to their original status prior to the amendments.
Counsel for the Ombudsman Commission Vergil Narokobi submitted this to the Supreme Court yesterday.
“The amendments, in essence, infringe on the Constitution which calls for equal participation by every citizen and equal distribution of goods and services right down to the rural population,” Mr Narokobi argued before the five-judge bench yesterday.
He said the amendments were inconsistent with “the letter and spirit of sections 187C(1), (2) and (3) of the Constitution”.
Mr Narokobi said the amendments made in 2006, which came into force in 2007, “conferred the position of deputy governor on a Member of the National Parliament representing an Open electorate.
Previously, it was the president of the local level government who held this post.
“The amendment removes presidents of LLG areas from the provincial assembly, and there have been problems expressed with the practical effect of the amendments.”
He said the provinces whose MPs were engaged in national duties with ministerial portfolios or as chairpersons of parliamentary committees cannot be deputy governors, “so the post cannot be occupied at all”.
As a result, the effective and equal distribution of much needed goods and services to the rural majority remained ineffective, he said.
“The issue is whether the amendments made to repeal sections 10(3)(b) and (c) of the OLPGLLG in removing presidents of LLG members of the provincial assembly, and presidents of LLGs as deputy governors and one representative to represent the heads of both urban authorities and urban councils as member of the provincial assembly are contrary to the requirements of the section 187C(2)(a) of the Constitution to have an elective or mainly elective legislature,” Mr Narokobi submitted.
The Supreme Court bench comprises Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika and Justices Bernard Sakora, Nicholas Kirriwom and Les Gavera-Nanu.
The Ombudsman Commission is seeking a Supreme Court reference pursuant to the Constitution, section 19, in the matter of sections 1 and 2 of the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local Level Governments (Amendment No. 10) Law 2006.