Mr Potape who was recently elected through a vote of no-confidence on December 29 by majority of the members of the Hela provincial Assembly and
sworn in by the Senior Provincial Magistrate Vincent Erelia said when responding to comments by ousted Governor Anderson Agiru on the print media today.
He said he was not a common criminal but was wrongfully jailed by the National Court which was proven by the Three-man Supreme Court when his conviction was squashed and freed after severing seven Months in Prison.
“I was wrongfully jailed and if the trial national court judge had not erred in its decision I could not have been imprisoned. What Mr Agiru said on the Print Media today paints a picture to the Parliament that I’m a criminal holding the public office. I must make it clear that I’m not a criminal. My conviction has been squashed by three distinguished Judges at the Supreme Court and that is clear. I have also been given legal clearance by the State Solicitor on November 05 last year, As such Mr Francis Potape is innocent unless proven guilty by the Court. This is the legal clearance by a competent legal team of the Government, therefore I’m fit and a proper person to hold any public office and make decisions on public monies,” Mr Potape said.
He said as a National Leader Mr Agiru has the right to say issues of National importance that will affect the country but he should have gone further to ask the Speaker to seek reference on other members who have been found guilty and dismissed by the leadership tribunal if they can return to hold public office.
“As a National Leader he has the right to say anything but I was not found guilty of any crime. It is not good to paint a picture through media propaganda when he should have asked if those leaders dismissed through a leadership tribunal should return to hold public office.
Mr Agiru was dismissed for three and half years by the leadership Tribunal when he was the Governor of Southern Highlands.
“So he should ask if he is qualified to come back and hold office. That was breach of leadership when he was found guilty and dismissed as his statement on the papers today is misleading,” said Governor Potape.
Mr Potape said if he has any issues with the election of the Governor of Hela then he should go to the courts.
“That is the appropriate forum. It is interesting to note Mr Agiru going to the social media, something he has never like,” he said.
Meanwhile Mr Agiru has not come out to respond on the 13 allegations labelled against him when he was voted out as Governor of Hela.