PNG’s first women Governor and first woman highlands MP Hon. Julie Soso has been fined with K15,000 for contempt charges by the Supreme Court in Waigani yesterday.
The Supreme Court ordered Governor Julie Soso to pay the money out of her own pocket and not from public funds before August 31 or serve a default sentence of six months in prison, as PNG Loop reports.
On June 28, Governor Soso, in signing a letter dated Feb 16, 2016 instructed Solomon Tato to step aside as provincial administrator, was contemptuous. It breached the Supreme Court’s order the previous day reinstating Solomon Tato as the Provincial Administrator of Eastern Highlands.
|Governor Julie Soso with supporters outside the Waigani Court after the decision. Image Credit: YUMI FM News, July 2016/|
The court, however, accepted Soso’s explanation that it was not her intention to disobey the orders. She was not made aware of the court orders of Feb 15 when she signed the letter at the airport in Goroka before boarding a flight to Port Moresby.
Justice David Cannings, in reading the decision of the three-man Supreme Court bench this morning, said contempt of court is a serious matter taking into consideration aggravating factor that Soso was found guilty of disobeying orders of the high court and the most senior judicial officer, the Chief Justice.
|Soso with supporters outside the court house - ready to pay the K15,000|
Governor Soso, in accepting the decision of the court, said she will pay the court fine today.
Before entering politics, Julie was known as a humble and outspoken women’s rights leader, and was the president of Eastern Highlands Women’s Council. She had won the seat with 119,606 votes after her fourth attempt to contest. In celebration her win in June 2012, she attributed her victory to womenfolk in the highlands.
She’s got a few firsts to her name. First woman governor ever. And first female MP to come out of the highlands where stereotypes against women the strongest.
|Outside the Waigani Court House|
Ms Soso joins other female MPs Loujaya Toni (Lae) and Delilah Gore (Sohe) in the national parliament. Her strength of character, career experience and commitment to rights issues singles her out as formidable ministerial material.
Her record in politics - the first woman to be elected to parliament from PNG's Highlands region, the third woman to win a seat this election, and the seventh woman to be elected to PNG's parliament ever.
|Julie Soso during one of her campaign rallies in Goroka.|