Court rules in favour of late Anderson Agiru

​The National Court has ruled that the dismissal of late Anderson Agiru from office by the Hela Provincial Assembly has been null and void and of no effect.

Justice Ere Kariko delivered the decision in a packed court room in Port Moresby today.

The same court also ruled that certain actions taken by the assembly to oust the then governor, late Anderson Agiru was null and void.

These actions include a letter dated 14th December 2015 that served as a notice of calling a Provincial Assembly meeting, another letter dated 22nd December 2015 to be the motion dismissing the plaintiff as Governor of Hela and other meetings held by Francis Potape and the assembly members.

Other actions found to be null and void include the resolutions passed by the defendants purportedly as the Hela Provincial Assembly to dismiss Agiru as governor and the meeting held by the defendants on the 29th December 2015 as a direct breach of a National Court Order dated 22nd December 2015.

The effect of this decision is that the deputy governor, Thomas Potabe automatically becomes the chairman of the provincial assembly pending the appointment of a new governor.

And according to Section 21 of the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local Level Governments, the Provincial Assembly shall from amongst the members of the Assembly who are Members of Parliament elect a Governor to fill the vacancy.

This process is expected to take place next week when the Hela Provincial Assembly is expected to convene under Potabe’s chairmanship.

Hela has 3 serving members of parliament; Member for Komo Magarima Francis Potape, Member for Koroba Lake Kopiage Philip Undialu and Member for Tari Pori and Finance Minister James Marape.

One of these will be elected the governor next week when the assembly is expected to meet.

Meantime, by-elections for the Hela Regional Seat is expected to be conducted in July of this year.

Ruth Rungula