|Hela Governor Anderson Agiru says MPs quilty of|
crime must be dismissed from office.
Hela Governor Anderson Agiru has called on Parliament and the Speaker to seek a Supreme Court reference to clarify the status of Members found guilty of a crime and missed sessions of parliament without being given leave of absence.
Mr Agiru said this in his New Year message that a Parliament reference will help preserve the integrity of Parliament and of leadership in the country. He said those found guilty of a crime must automatically be dismissed from Parliament and their appeal, if successful, should be decided by the people in a by-election.
He said that when the Constitution was drafted, the nation’s fathers did not envisage such dilemma facing the country today with more leaders having trouble with the law. "In other country’s leaders step aside or resign from office, but not here in Papua New Guinea."
Mr Agiru said it is now going viral on social media like Hela Forum and others that Mr Francis Potape has missed three-four consecutive sessions of Parliament.
"I am calling on the Parliament to file a Supreme Court reference to determine whether or not when situations like this arise, the constitutional founders of our Constitution did not envisage situations like this, therefore if a Member of Parliament is sent to prison or absent without leave, is he qualified to continue in office?
"Secondly, there should be a reference file for all politicians who are Members of Parliament, when they go to prison after being found guilty, should they be granted leave of absence while they are in prison and if they are back in Parliament, should they perform elected duties.
"These are very important constitutional issues that arise and that needs to be answered."
Mr Agiru said he went to China for medical treatment like Sir Michael Somare did to Singapore and got leave of absence.
"Founders of the Constitution never envisage Members of Parliament going to jail, only criminals go to jail. In the Western world leaders automatically resign from office and step aside over such things.
"Therefore, I think it’s time now to start asking those questions about leadership, good governance and after 40 years of Independence and we are starting a new 40, we have to look at these things."
"I call on the Speaker and Parliament to file that reference so that we protect the integrity of the parliament and we protect the integrity of the institutional leadership," Mr Agiru said.