Court: Akunaii to remain in office in EHP

There's a twist in the protracted legal battle for the provincial administrator's position in the Eastern Highlands Province.

Today the National Court in Gorokas ordered Eastern Highlands acting provincial administrator Samson Akunaii to remain in office until February 11, 2016, when his acting appointment lapses.

The court further ordered that the incumbent Solomon Tato and his agents be restrained from causing interference.

And all other orders stayed including the removal of police from the provincial Yanepa Building.

The court's decision is based on an application filed by the legal team representing  Akunaii and Governor Julie Soso.

Tato's lawyer Richard Yambon  told Loop PNG that he was advised by his client to appeal against the court's decision.

Akunaii’s supporters flocked to Governor Julie Soso's residence where they were briefed on the court orders and other necessary information presented by the legal team.

Governor Soso took the opportunity to appeal to public servants in EHP to faithfully serve under Akunaii.

"Service delivery to the 600,000 people of EHP is important.

"I also appeal to local MPs in EHP to respect me as the mandated governor of this province," she told the crowd.

The restraining order returns to the court on February 2, 2016.

Michael Koma