Can the court decide on the SIPA saga? - Solomon Star News

Can the court decide on the SIPA saga?

27 April 2016

THERE appears to be no sign that the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) controversy is going to be resolved any time soon.

Perhaps the only option left to deciding who is right, and who is not, is to take it to the courts.

And Attorney General James Apaniai is right in suggesting this to sacked SIPA chief executive officer Colin Yow.

Mr Yow is insisting he’s still the CEO, despite his sacking, Sunday, by SIPA board chairman Billy Titiulu.

Mr Titiulu and board member Johnny Sy were earlier given their termination letters by Minister for Infrastructure Development Jimmy Lusibaea.

Mr Lusibaea accused the duo of negotiating an out-of-court settlement with Business Dynamics of Singapore, which is claiming $38 million from SIPA for previous consultancy services.

He claimed this was done during the recent trip Mr Titiulu and Mr Sy took to Singapore.

But the pair denied the allegations.

They said their trip to Singapore was to investigate the deals involving rice and noodle as well as the down payment on the first sea-plane that Mr Yow had struck with suppliers there.

Furthermore, they insisted Mr Lusibaea cannot sack them without the signature of the Finance minister, who is equally responsible for SIPA.

Their stand was grounded on the State-Owned Enterprise Act, under which SIPA exists and functions.

And so on Sunday, Mr Titiulu hit back, issuing Mr Yow his termination letter, on the grounds of insubordination.

He claimed Mr Yow miserably failed to follow directives from his board.

Quite surprisingly, Mr Yow is defying Mr Titiulu’s termination letter, insisting he’s still the CEO and that Mr Titiulu’s termination letter was invalid because he’s no longer the SIPA board chairman.

And so the controversy persists.

But according to Attorney General Mr Apaniai, minister Lusibaea’s sacking of Mr Titiulu is invalid.

This is because SIPA comes under the responsibility of both the Ministry of Finance and that of Infrastructure Development.

In his view, Mr Titiulu’s sacking was invalid and therefore, he still has the power to terminate Mr Yow.

So the onus is on Mr Yow to seek redress with the courts if he thinks his sacking is invalid.

Can Mr Yow do that or will he continue to defy the board’s decision?

Surely, and in light of the deferring opinions, the matter should got before the courts for a final decision.