Governor John Rankin today refuted claims that he has chosen to dip into the territory’s Consolidated Fund in order to to pay for an attorney to represent him before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI).
The claims, which were made by both the Speaker of the House, Julian Willock, and Premier Andrew Fahie
, suggested that the governor threatened to invoke the section of the constitution that allows him to raid the Fund.
But in his appearance before the COI
today, the governor rubbished the assertions and described them as not true.
“I hesitate to give a current example, but there have been statements made of late in relation to my position and my legal representation before this hearing which are frankly misleading and inaccurate. The suggestion that I would be using Section 103 of the constitution for my legal representation which is nonsense,” Governor Rankin said.
Governor Rankin said he hesitated previously to respond to the claims but felt it was legitimate to do so before the COI
Both the Speaker and the Premier argued that it was unfair that the governor could be able to use the fund in that manner, even as the Speaker is unable to do so.
Willock is currently embroiled in a dispute about payment of his legal fees after he was adjudged before the High Court as being liable for costs in a now aborted injunction he brought against three COI
The issue of payment — now finalised at a $98,000 bill — was brought to the House of Assembly (HOA) and is now being decided by a three-man committee where a decision is expected within the coming weeks.
Willock accused the COI
lawyers of practicing illegally in the territory, but withdrew his injunction after failing to win the support of the Attorney General, Dawn Smith, in the matter.