BILLY Titiulu remains the chairman of Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) and he has the powers to sack the authority’s chief executive officer Colin Yow.
That was the view of Attorney General James Apania after Mr Yow insisted his sacking by Mr Titiulu was invalid.
Mr Apaniai zoomed in on the issue after a weekend of drama that saw three high profile sackings, as the SIPA saga threatens to destabilise the Sogavare government.
Minister of Infrastructure Development Jimmy Lusibaea last week took a unilateral decision to sack Mr Titiulu and SIPA board member Filipino Johnny Sy.
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.
Mr Titiulu, a former attorney general, and Mr Sy denied the allegation.
On Sunday, Mr Titiulu, who insisted his sacking was invalid, fired back and terminated Mr Yow.
The sacking was made on the grounds of insubordination.
But Mr Yow, originally from Singapore, and who is on a USD$600,000 annual tax-free salary, maintained he’s still the CEO.
However, the Attorney General Mr Apaniai told the Solomon Star yesterday Mr Lusibaea’s sacking of Mr Titiulu and Mr Sy was “null and void”.
“According to the State-Owned Enterprises Act, any sacking of the SIPA chairman can only be done by both accountable ministers – that is the Finance Minister and Infrastructure Development Minister,” Mr Apaniai said.
“Unless both ministers sign the termination letter, Mr Titiulu remains the board chairman,” he added.
“If Colin Yow thinks he is still the CEO of SIPA, he must challenge his sacking in court.
“As far as I am concerned, the decision taken by the SIPA board and its chairman to sack Mr Yow remains valid unless a court of law says otherwise.”
Despite his sacking, Mr Yow continues to occupy the SIPA chief executive officer’s chair, and yesterday he paid out more than $100,000 to a newly established chamber of commerce established by the president of Malaita Ma’asina Forum Charles Dausabea.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI