Sacked Auditor General (AG) Edward Ronia is challenging his termination from the office by filing a case in the High Court.
The case is to challenge his removal from office last year by the public service commission (PSC).
Michael Pitakaka Law Chamber filed the case on behalf of Mr. Ronia.
Mr. Ronia has decided to sue the commission because he believes that the decision to terminate him as Auditor-General of Solomon Islands is a matter of public interest that should be reviewed by the courts.
He also believes that his lawsuit is within his rights, making use of avenues available under court rules.
Mr. Ronia was advised by the commission to leave his job late last year on the ground that he was over the age of 55.
“He had been doing a tremendous job over the years and it was a shock that he was not allowed to continue despite his age,” TSI executive officer, Daniel Fenua said.
Mr. Ronia approached Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) and registered his case with the advocacy legal and advice centre (ALAC).
He was concerned that his termination was going to have a negative impact on the work of the Office of the Auditor-General.
As Auditor-General, Mr. Ronia had developed medium term plans for the 5 year period he was appointed for by contract. He was in the middle of completing some of the more sensitive aspects of his plans when he was removed from office.
“We immediately noted the legal issues involved in the case,” director of ALAC, Louise Hiele said.
“The circumstances revealed possible breaches of procedural fairness rules.
“Given the vital role that the Auditor-General plays in the accountability regime of the Solomon Islands, on ALAC’s recommendation, the TSI Board resolved that the case was a matter of public interest and should be put before the Courts,” Mrs Hiele said.
TSI then extended a hand to Mr. Ronia using a pro bono legal services agreement which TSI signed with Michael Pitakaka Law Chamber last year.
Under the agreement, the firm, owned by Michael Pitakaka, will provide free litigation services to TSI and its clients on TSI’s request, but only for certain cases of strategic importance to TSI’s mandate.
“This is the first time that our firm has provided this service for a TSI client. We are pleased to support the work of TSI and ALAC in cases like this which are of national importance,” Mr. Pitakaka said.
“I encourage other law firms to do the same if approached by an institution like TSI or any other group who is undertaking work that is in the public interest.
“This is a judicial review case, asking the courts to review the decision that the public service commission made on Ronia’s termination. The case has just been filed and we cannot speculate on its details or the outcome,” Mr Pitakaka added.
“I’m glad this case will go to the courts to study, make a decision and settle the issue,” Mr Ronia said outside the High Court registry after filing the case.