Potape’s Application for Stay Refused

By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Justice Bernard Sakora refused an urgent application filed by Komo-Magarima member, Francis Potape, to stay the earlier ruling that recognised Anderson Agiru as Hela Governor.

The Court held that Agiru will remain and serve as Governor, pending the decision of the National Court in February.

Justice Sakora emphasised that this decision is for the best interest and the rights of the people of Hela Province.

Justice Bernard Sakora refused Potape’s application for stay, stating that the application is of no useful purpose, unnecessary, and abuses the Courts processes.

Before the ruling, Justice Sakora said that two conditions that satisfied the Courts are:
1. Where the balance of favour should lie,
2. And the need to maintain the status quo

Justice Sakora said that PNG needs stability in the government leadership, however, the Hela Governorship tussle, is putting an uncertainty in leadership.

The tussle goes back to late last year, when members of the Hela Provincial Assembly held a no confidence vote against Agiru, and elected Potape as the Governor.

After a number of court cases heard at the national level, the National Court judge, Justice Darek Hartshorn, reinstated Anderson Agiru to his former position on the 7th of January, 2016.

However, Potape filed an urgent application for stay in the Supreme Court in which the ruling was made today.

From today till the court returns on the 19th of February, 2016, Justice Bernard Sakora said that there shouldn’t be any interim applications or proceedings before the substantive matter.

The matter will be to decide the legality of the Provincial Assembly’s action on voting Potape as the Hela Governor.

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