By HELEN TARAWA
THE Government has clarified that Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava’s term as Secretary to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock lapsed on June 26 and the process of appointing a successor is underway.
It is in response to a ruling last Friday by Committal Court Magistrate Mekeo Gauli to strike out the 29 counts of various fraud-related charges against Ila’ava, for want of police evidence.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Benny Allan told The National that Ila’ava’s term had expired in June and an acting appointment had been made by the Department of Personnel Management.
“The DPM advertised the position and the process is in place now to appoint a new secretary. The vetting process had been completed and the DPM Ministerial Economic Appointment Committee has completed a shortlist,” Allan said.
He said there was a stay order by the court on the permanent appointment of someone to the position. The National Executive Council is therefore prevented from making any decision.
Minister for Public Service Elias Kapavore confirmed that Ila’ava’s contract had expired and the position was advertised. “We are in the process of making a new appointment. I am not aware of any decision for his reinstatement. I can say he was not considered for the reappointment after the expiry of his contract,” Kapavore said.
The Waigani Committal court last Friday cleared all the 29 criminal charges against Ila’ava. Allan said he would await an interpretation of the court decision by State lawyers.
By HELEN TARAWA