Court year in review- Governors in court

The year 2016 saw a governor jailed for 10 years; another Governor who was earlier jailed had his case dismissed after a re-trial was conducted while a female governor paid K15, 000 for contempt of court.

Western Governor Ati Wobiro is serving a prison term of 10 years for misappropriation after he was sentenced on Nov 18.

He was convicted on July 26 for conspiring with two others to establish the Fly Care Foundation between January 1 and December 30, 2013, by using over K7m funding from the provincial government.

He has since filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against his conviction and sentence and the matter is pending in court.

Hela Governor Francis Potape as Komo-Margarima MP had his misappropriation case dismissed on July 22 after the National Court in a re-trial found he had no case to answer to.

The retrial was ordered by the Supreme Court on July 31, 2015 quashing his conviction and sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison after a successful appeal.

He was sentenced to prison on Jan 19, 2015 after he repaid K330, 000 to the state.

The retrial started on July 11, 2016 and went on for three days. On July 14, Potape’s lawyer asked the court to stop the trial and acquit his client of the misappropriation allegations. Potape was cleared on July 22.

Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso was found guilty of contempt of court on July 28 and fined K15,000 for disobeying an order of the Supreme Court.

On June 28, the court found that the actions of Governor Soso, in signing a letter dated Feb 16, 2016, was contemptuous. It was contemptuous as it breached the Supreme Court’s order the previous day reinstating Solomon Tato as the Provincial Administrator of Eastern Highlands. 

Soso paid the fine while Tato has since been removed Provincial Administrator as the a recent Supreme Court decision. He is currently facing misappropriation allegations in Goroka and is awaiting trial on ex-officio indictment.

Gulf Governor Havila Kavo’s committal to the National Court for trial has been sent back to the District Court after Kavo succeeded in a Judicial Review proceeding.

The National Court quashed Kavo’s committal and sent his case on misappropriation allegations back to the District court to look at his section 96 statement, which is his response to the court finding sufficient or prima facie evidence against him.

 The Committal Court ruled on April 22, it was satisfied that there is an existence of sufficient prima facie evidence on the charge of misappropriation against Kavo.

The National Court found that the District Court’s decision to commit Kavo was flawed as the magistrate did not consider the defendant’s section 96 statement.


Sally Pokiton