JAMES APA GUMUNO
MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge has been urged to bring a law before Parliament to rectify a loophole or grey area in the Organic Law on Provincial and Local-level Governments that has allowed provincial governors to continue in office even though they are no longer members of Parliament representing the provincial electorate.
This is the case with governors Tom Olga of Western Highlands province and Sir Arnold Amet of Madang.
Both have had their elections declared null and void by the court, but they continue to be governors of their respective provinces.
In Parliament last week, Governor Wenge said the pair are no longer Members of Parliament and should not continue to hold office.
Mr Olga said in response that laws were made in Parliament, and Mr Wenge should bring a bill to change the law there if he was not happy with the current situation.
“If there is a loophole in a particular section of the law, it is something for Parliament to address. The court only enforces the laws,” Mr Olga said.
He said it was not good for Mr Wenge to attack himself and Sir Arnold.
He said Mr Wenge, who has a legal background and has sat in court rooms for sometime before becoming a politician, must realise this loophole and introduce a bill in Parliament to fix the problem.
Mr Olga said Sir Arnold and himself continued to occupy the office of governor and carry out their duties because the law allowed them to do so.
Inter-Government Relations Minister Job Pomat said last Wednesday that the courts could rule and remove governors as regional members but section 14 of the Organic Law says the incumbent can still hold the governor’s post until a replacement is found.
He agreed that this particular section needed to be reviewed and said work is already being done to fix this problem.