by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The latest court decision in the battle for the Eastern Highlands Provincial Administrator position went in favour of Solomon Tato.
An urgent application filed by his lawyer yesterday afternoon was granted, which contained orders for Tato to immediately resume office as Provincial Administrator.
The court heard that Solomon Tato was appointed PA by the National Executive Council in November 2014. His appointment has since been challenged by Governor Julie Soso and the Provincial Executive Council which resulted in the appointment of Samson Akunai as acting provincial administrator.
In August this year, following criminal allegations against Tato, Tato was ordered by the courts to vacate office to await committal court hearing.
“These criminal allegations have been cleared on the 27th November 2015 by the Goroka Committal Court,” Tato’s lawyer, George Lau, said after the court decision yesterday.
Lau said this application is part of a case that Solomon Tato has against the EHP Governor Julie Soso, the Provincial Executive Council, Public Service Minister, the secretary of Personnel Management and the current acting PA, Samson Akunai.
“We got the restraining order now for Mr Tato to resume office forthwith and to restrain any defendants from disturbing him from performing his function as the duly appointed provincial administrator,” Lau said.
Part of the order restrains the defendants from extending Samson Akunai’s acting appointment which is supposed to expire on February 11, 2016.
It is understood there is another fresh case in Goroka on this matter, however Mr Lau said their main case will be heard in Waigani next year.
“NEC is the only authority that makes decisions to revoke or appoint PAs and no PEC or governor has that power. These are matters of law that we want to set (the record) straight,” Lau said of the substantive matter.