By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
The Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO) is planning to review the High Court election petition of Northeast Guadalcanal Member of Parliament (MP) Jamie Vokia.
In a letter addressed to the Attorney General (AG) and Governor-General (GG), Public Solicitor Howard Lawry said they feel that the High Court judge’s finding was repealed and that the judgment is now null and void.
“I am advised that the petition was brought under section 126 of the Electoral Act 2018,” Mr Lawry stated in the email cited by the paper.
He added that he was further advised that the High Court Judge made no finding under this Act.
“I am further advised that in the ruling the Court made a finding under section 66 of the repealed National Parliament Electoral Petitions Act.
“That Act was repealed by section 138 of the Electoral Act 2018.
“Accordingly any finding under the National Parliament Electoral Petitions Act concerning actions after the Act was repealed must be null and void.
“I have been asked to bring these matters to your attention,” Mr Lawry further stated in the letter sent via email.
Vokia lost his seat after the High Court found him guilty of three grounds of bribery last Friday.
Justice Kouhota had ruled that Vokia’s election as MP for Northeast Guadalcanal is null and void.
Vokia was tried on four grounds but Justice Kouhota dismissed one ground of bribery.
Mr Vokia unseated his runner up Dr Derek Sikua 1,835 to 1629 votes during last year’s election in one of the biggest election result upsets.
A total of 28 election petitions were filed after the National General Elections on 3 April last year.
Two cases were withdrawn along the way while two were summarily dismissed last year.
So far five MPs have retained their seats after the High Court dismissed their petitions.
They are MP for Central Guadalcanal Bradley Tovosia, MP for Fataleka Rex Annex Ramofafia MP for Lau/Mbaelelea Augustine Auga and MP for Ngella, Bartholomew Parapolo and MP for East Kwaio Stanley Sofu.
The only two MPs so far who have lost their seats were Vokia and Central Honiara MP, Moffat Fugui.
The High Court had also last Friday found Fugui guilty of bribery.
They are all members of the current ruling government.
The following cases are awaiting judgments and trial:
1. MP for West Guadalcanal, Anthony Veke,
2. MP for West Areare, John Maneniaru,
3. MP for East Honiara, Douglas Ete,
4. MP for West Honiara, Namson Tran,
5. MP for Gizo/Kolombangara, Lanelle Tanangada,
6. MP for West Kwara’ae, Sam Iduri,
7. MP for Central Kwara’ae, Jackson Fiulaua,
8. MP for East Areare, Peter Kenilorea Jnr,
9. MP for East Malaita, Manasseh Maelanga,
10. MP for Central Guadalcanal, Peter Shanel Agovaka,
11. MP for South New Georgia, Danny Philip,
12. MP for South Choiseul Robertson Galokale
13. MP for Savo/ Russell, Dickson Mua
14. MP for South Vella La Vella, Fredrick Kologeto
15. MP for West New Georgia, Silas Vangara Tausinga
16. MP for Temotu/Vatud, Freda Tuki
17. MP for North Malaita Senley Filualea.