By JEFFREY ELAPA
MINISTER for Climate Change and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on LNG matters Francis Potape has disputed the withdrawal of his cabinet portfolios.
He said National Gazette number G208, effecting his removal last Tuesday, was defective and that he was still a minister, The National reports.
Surprised at the front-page report in The National yesterday, Potape said he was not aware of any such changes since he had only met with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare last week. The action had left Potape as minister without portfolio.
“During our meeting then, the prime minister did not mention anything about stripping me of my job as a state minister,” Potape told a media conference yesterday.
The member for Komo-Margarima was adamant that National Gazette No.G188, appointing him as minister assisting the prime minister on LNG matters, had not been revoked.
He said he was not aware of any so-called gazette number G208 informing him of the changes.
He claimed that the gazettal stripping him of the ministry was done to create disunity in government, and by someone who did not want to see the LNG project proceed.
Sir Michael is in
With the minister at the media conference yesterday were Komo local level government president Thomas Potape and Hulia LLG president Eric Yawas.
Showing copies of the National Gazette and amendment of determination of titles and responsibilities of minister, Potape said the dates and gazette number were contradicting and did not correspond to the original gazette number and appointment dates.
He said he had consulted with other senior ministers in government and they were not aware of any such moves to strip him of his ministerial portfolios.
“This is the work of people trying to destabilise the government.
“I am still the minister for climate change and minister assisting the prime minister on LNG matters,” Potape said.
Several attempts to get comments from the acting prime minister and the prime minister’s office were in vain.