Gore guilty of sacking threat

The Leadership Tribunal today found Community Development Minister and Sohe Member Delilah Gore guilty on one count of misconduct.

Gore is facing two allegations. She was found not guilty on the first allegation against her however was found guilty of the second allegation.  

One is the allegation that she failed to carry out her obligations under section 27 of the Constitution by conducting herself in a way that demeaned her office as a passenger on flight PX 853 at Girua airport on the morning of April 24, 2014 and is thereby guilty of misconduct in office under section 27(5)(b) of the constitution.

Evidence collected by the tribunal during the inquiry showed conflicting versions of what eventuated in the aircraft as fellow passengers said the minister was on her phone while the minister through her affidavit said she was switching it off when it rang in her bag which led to the confrontation between her and the cabin crew member.

Tribunal chairman Justice Goodwin Poole said the tribunal was satisfied the leader was using her phone to text in the aircraft however they found that her actions did not demean her office to amount to her misconduct in office.

Justice Poole said to be found guilty of misconduct in office one must use their office for personal gain.

He said the minister’s reaction was on the basis she was a leader and felt she deserved the respect as a member of parliament thus finding her not guilty to the allegation of misconduct in office.

The second allegation alleges she failed to switch off her mobile phone, an electronic device, that is contrary to the PNG Civil Aviation Rules Part 91.7(a) and section 5.2 of Air Niugini’s Standard Operating procedures.

Here the tribunal’s finding showed the minister told the cabin crew member to take her seat and later threatened to have the pilot and the flight attendant sacked, asking if she (the flight attendant) knew who Gore was.  Justice Poole said a member of parliament is a member of the legislature and does not have the right to interfere in the administrative business of a company to hire and fire.

He said an MP occupies a higher office that comes with privileges, adding that the minister’s actions were unjustifiable.

In finding Gore guilty to the second allegation, the tribunal was satisfied that she allowed her personal integrity to be called into questioning and demeaned her office when she threatened to have the flight attendant sacked.

Submissions of the appropriate penalties to be imposed on the minister will be done on July 31.

Sally Pokiton