28 Nov 2013

Solomons governor general's office clarifies auditor general's departure

4:19 pm on 28 November 2013

The Solomon Islands governor general's office is describing the controversial departure of the former auditor general as simply an issue of retirement.

Calls for Edward Ronia's reinstatement have come amid suggestions his termination was politically motivated.

Annell Husband reports.

"In a statement the governor general's office says while Mr Ronia is welcome to mount a legal challenge to the decision to order him to step down, no amount of judicial review will change it. It says Mr Ronia is over the official retirement age of 55 and so the five-year contract he was awarded in 2009 contravenes the constitution. But Mr Ronia says because he turned 55 last year he can't understand why the order to step down has only been given now. He says there is a constitutional provision for the governor general to extend the employment of retirement-aged public office-holders and in the absence of an eligible replacement he questions why it's not being exercised. But the governor general's private secretary Nigel Maezama says such a decision may only be made on the advice of the public service ministry. The ministry declined to comment."