Potape is not Hela governor, says court

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The National,Wednesday June 15th, 2016

A COURT has ruled that the appointment of Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape last December as Hela governor by eight provincial assembly members was unlawful.
National Court judge Justice Ere Kariko ruled that the two meetings conducted by Potape and the eight provincial assembly members on Dec 22 and 29, which led to the appointment of Potape were called and conducted unlawfully.
The court ordered that the resolution passed by Potape and the eight provincial assembly members to dismiss the late governor Anderson Agiru was null and void and of no force or effect.
He ruled that Agiru was not lawfully dismissed as Hela governor on Dec 29 and Potape was not lawfully elected as his replacement.
Kairko said the processes were not according to the provisions under the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local Level Governments, and the Hela provincial assembly standing orders.
“I consider the provisions to be mandatory after having due regard to their purpose and intention,” he said.
“To my mind, it is important that the provisions are strictly applied because a matter such as the dismissal of a governor is a very serious matter,” Kariko said.
Agiru’s lawyer, Goiye Gileng, said outside the court the people of Hela must respect the court’s decision and keep the peace because Hela was an important province as it hosted the LNG project.
Potape told his supporters later that he respected that court’s decision. He said what happened was politics and the people should not take it personally.
He is looking forward to the 2017 general election.