By Annette Kora – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Newly appointed Minister for State owned Enterprise, Sasindra Muthuvel, expressed his disappointment over a statement published in one of the local dallies on Friday, June 14, describing it as an unwarranted public attack with baseless allegations made against him by member for Kandrian-Glouster, Joseph Lelang. He said Lelang’s statement was both misleading and highly defamatory; firstly suggesting that Muthuvel was no longer governor and secondly making allegations of corruption to unduly influence the legal process of appointment for a new governor.
Responding to the recent statement by member for Kandrian-Glouster, Minister Muthuvel today clarified the constitutional law that provides for and governs Provincial and Local Level Government which states that as provincial governor appointed as a Minister, he shall be deemed to vacate the office of the governor. However, it also states that the provincial governor shall continue in office until the election of the next provincial governor.
This is pursuant to Section 19 subsection 4 of the organic law on Provincial and Local Level Government that states and allows for the governor to continue in office until the new governor is appointed. The election is bound to take place in the provincial assembly on Tuesday 18th June of which the governor himself will oversee. He said proclamations made by Lelang that the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Mango, will occupy the governor’s office was also wrong as Mango cannot occupy the office of the governor unless he is elected, and this will not be possible as long as the two Open Members of West New Britain remain available to be elected to this position.
Muthuvel adds that in relation to baseless allegations of corruption and undue influence levelled against him by Lelang, he elucidated that no cheque was released from his office to the LLG presidents to influence their votes in the election of a new governor. Minister Muthuvel pointed out that he remains the provincial member for West New Britain Province, reassuring the WNB people, WNB Open members and the LLG Presidents that he will continue to advance the development of WNB in his new role as Minister.
He emphasised further the importance of the freedom of the press and its duty to ascertain the facts and report correctly adding that in no time was he contacted by the media to confirm the allegations made by Lelang and to inquire into the substance of his incorrect statements. He cautioned all leaders to exercise caution in their public statements and to arm themselves with facts to avoid making allegations that could have the potential to injure the reputation and integrity of elected leaders.