LCC acted outside its role, claims lawyer
A LAWYER for the Minister of Forestry Bodo Dettke has accused the Leadership Code Commission of acting outside its statutory role.
This was after the Commission, which comprised of chairman Francis Luza, Waeta Ben Tabusasi and Henry Isa, called on Mr Dettke to relinquish his portfolio to protect his integrity.
The Commission found that Dettke had direct interest in logging companies, which suggests that his appointment as Forestry and Research Ministers holds a potential conflict of interest.
The logging companies are Asia Pacific Lumber Company, Solomon Resources Management Ltd, Bahomea Logging Company Ltd and Success Company Ltd.
The Commission had also forward a letter to the Minister and copied it to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
However, Mr Dettke’s lawyer Gabriel Suri said under the LCC Act, where there is a conflict of interest involving the leader, he or she shall get rid of his or her commercial interest.
Mr Suri said the Act does not state the leader must relinquish his portfolio if there is a potential conflict of interest.
“It was wrong in law for the Commission to call on the Minister to relinquish his portfolio,” Mr Suri said.
He said his client will divest his commercial interests in a reasonable period as the Act requires.
Suri said two of the companies his client owns are not active so he will de-register from the Company House.
He said the other two companies are active, so they will see how his client will get rid of his shares and relinquish the directorship.
Mr Suri said he had informed the Prime Minister of the situation and insisted Mr Dettke is the right man for the job.
“Mr Dettke has a lot of experience in the logging industry and knows the ins and outs of it.
“Therefore he is there to protect the interest of the country and the landowners,” Mr Suri added.
By EDDIE OSIFELO