Highlands News

Eastern Highlands Provincial Administrator still an issue

By Adelaide Kari – EMTV News, Port Moresby

An appointment to the position of Eastern Highlands Provincial Administrator is still a major issue for the province. Eastern Highlands is one of the country’s largest provinces with 8 districts.

The tussle over the Provincial Administrator has already affected numerous projects.

Eastern Highlands Governor, Peter Numu, who has been criticised for his stance on the removal of the current Provincial Administrator, Samson Akuani, says the province needs someone who is willing to work with the Provincial Government. The controversial Provincial Administrator’s Position for Eastern Highlands province continues after numerous media reports surfaced on the Provincial Administration (PA) position being politicised.

Governor Peter Numu says if he was politicising the appointment, he would have put a candidate for the position straight after elections. The provincial administrator position for the province goes back to last term of government when Julie Soso was governor, where the than PEC recommended Solomon Tato as Provincial Administrator and the NEC recognised Samson Akunai. The issue was taken to court and in 2016, the Supreme Court ruled Samson Akunai as PA until such permanent appointment is made. That Permanent appointment decision by NEC was done on the 7th of this Month (June).

In a letter from the Public Service Minister, Elias Kapavore, it advised the Governor on the decision of the National Executive Council rejecting PEC resolution to appoint Akunai as the PA, however, the NEC further resolved that Akunai will continue to act as Acting Provincial Administrator on a three month basis following the position re-advertisement by the Department of Personal Management. The minister also stated that PEC recommendation to appoint Wesley Albert as the acting PA was rejected.

Governor Numu recently said that the provincial government is willing to work with anyone than the current Acting PA, Samson Akunai. Governor Numu responded to the NEC decision by welcoming the decision to re-advertise the permanent provincial administrator position,but was disappointed with the appointment of Akunai as acting PA. He said the PEC will further take the appointment for a judicial review due to the PEC believing that Minister Kapavore had not followed the Public Service Management Act Section 3 of Public Management Service Act Regulation 2014 when appointing an acting PA.

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