Potape’s application adjourned

A stay application that was filed by Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape has been adjourned to Wednesday by the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia adjourned the case yesterday to give time to lawyers to obtain specific instructions from their clients in the case.

The adjournment was granted after lawyer for Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP, Philip Undialu, told the court he was yet to get instructions from his client, who was on a campaign trail in Hela.

Both Potape and Undialu are contesting the Hela Regional Seat in the 2017 National General election.

Potape’s lawyer on June 8 filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the National Court's decision which nullified his election as Hela Governor on June 7.

His election as Governor by the Hela Provincial Assembly members was declared illegal by the National Court for the third time after Justice Collin Makail found his election null and void.

The urgent stay application will be moved on Wednesday by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia.

Potape and Undialu have been in court over the governor’s post since the passing of the late Governor Anderson Agiru.

The National Court on 14 June 2016, declared his elections on 29 December 2015 illegal.

The second was on 6 Sept 2016, where the court declared both Potape and Undialu’s separate elections on 5 July 2016 as null and void, issuing an order for the Provincial Assembly clerk, Watson Ebela, to fix a time, date and issue notices for the meeting.

The third election was conducted on 13 September 2016 by the Provincial Assembly. This time, no notice was served to Assembly Members James Marape, Rev. Olene Yawai and Charles Apalu, despite Apalu being verbally informed of the meet.

Justice Collin Makail found that failure to serve notice to the three was a gross breach of the election process under section 21 of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Governments, rendering the election of Potape void.

 (Loop PNG file picture of Undialu and Potape outside court last year)

Sally Pokiton