Hela governor seat to end up in court again

Member for Komo-Margarima, Francis Potape, has indicated his intention to bring the political struggle in the Hela governor seat to court again.

This announcement comes following reports that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Inter-government Relations, Sir Leo Dion, formally announced Member for Koroba-Lake Kopiago, Philip Undialu, as the legitimate governor of the new province.

Potape is taking this matter to court on grounds that only a governor is eligible to conduct a provincial assembly and not the clerk of the assembly.

He says in the absence of a governor, the organic law stipulates that a deputy governor automatically becomes the acting chairman and should be the one chairing the assembly.

He therefore queried the process involved in the appointment of Undialu as the governor after the assembly was presided over by a clerk in July.

Potape has also expressed disappointment at the manner in which the Deputy Prime Minister handled the matter.

He said the Hela governor issue was a sensitive one, and Sir Leo should have made a proper announcement in Port Moresby through a media conference, instead of announcing this from Kokopo, East New Britain.

Undialu and his team confirmed yesterday that they haven’t received anything formal in writing from Dion confirming his appointment.

However, they said they relied on an online news article that quoted Dion saying the department has recognised Undialu as the governor for the province.

It is understood that the Deputy Prime Minister is yet to make a formal announcement on this despite indicating to the online news source that Undialu has been recognised as the governor for Hela.




Ruth Rungula