Pala: Kavo was Wrongly Advised on Status as Governor

By Theckla Gunga – EM TV, Port Moresby

The Attorney General, Ano Pala, has condemned the actions of convicted Gulf Governor, Havilo Kavo, following his claims of “still being the governor” of the province.

Pala stated in a letter to Kavo that despite his conviction and sentence by the National Court in December 2014, he was wrongly advised to come out publicly on his stance.    

The attorney general made these comments, following Kavo’s public appearance in the media as governor of Gulf.

Pala made reference to a media statement in January, and a letter to the Assembly Clerk in December 2014 that stated: since Kavo filed an appeal by operations of Section 103 (4) of the Constitution he would continue to remain a member of parliament.

But Pala said this section of the constitution only preserves Kavo as a member of parliament and clearly not as governor. He reiterated that Kavo, having been convicted, is a ‘prisoner of the state’ and out on bail.

He added that the convicted governor has been ill advised by his lawyers.

Under sections 27 (1) (b) (c) of the Constitution:

1.         A person to whom this division applies has a duty to conduct himself in such a way, both in his public or private life and his associations with other persons as not,

b.         To demean his position or 

c.         To allow his public or office integrity to be called into question

The attorney general clarified that Kavo’s appeal to the Supreme Courts challenging the conviction, sentence and resultant operations of section 103 of the Constitution preserves him as a Member of Parliament (MP) and does not extend to the position as governor of Gulf.

This is because the issues of disqualification as governor is addressed by the Organic Law on Provincial and Local level Governments.

 A copy of the letter sent to the convicted governor, which will also be sent to the Assembly Clerk of Gulf provincial government, will be advising them to call a provincial assembly meeting in accordance with relevant applicable law. This will take into account the assembly standing orders, and elect an acting governor.  

However, if Kavo’s plea is successful then he will resume office as governor.

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