Biographical entry: Kabui, Frank Utu Ofagior (1946 - )
- 20 April 1946
Frank Ofagior Utu Kabui, lawyer and Governor-General, was born at Suluagwari village near Malu'u in north Malaita on 20 April 1946. He attended Malu'u Elementary School in north Malaita (1959-1962), Aligegeo Senior Primary School at Auki (1963-1964) and King George VI School at Aligegeo in 1965. He then moved with the school to Honiara and continued Forms Two through Four, and then passed his Cambridge School Certificate Examination in 1968. Kabui completed his law training at the University of Papua New Guinea (1969-1973) and the Port Moresby Legal Training Institute (1974), becoming one of the first two Solomon Islander lawyers. He attained provisional admission to the Bar in Papua New Guinea (1974) and full admission to the Bar in Solomon Islands (1975).
Kabui was appointed as Crown Counsel on 7 January 1975 in the Attorney General's Chambers and was promoted to Assistant Attorney General in 1977 after having attended a six-month course on legislative drafting in Colombo, Sri Lanka (1976-1977). During 1976 he was Joint-Secretary to the Constitutional Committee that toured the Protectorate seeking views of the people on the new Independence Constitution. He served as Crown Prosecutor for five years, in addition to giving advice on all matters to the government under the supervision of the Attorney General. In April of 1980 he was promoted to Attorney General, a position he held for fourteen years. This is an appointed, not a parliamentary position, its main functions being to advise the government, cabinet and Speaker of Parliament. Government bills are drafted by the Attorney General's Chambers, by the Legal Draftsman. As Attorney General, Kabui represented the government in court in all civil claims by or against the government. He also represented the government at international conferences, seminars and workshops. He attended the Australian National University in Canberra in 1985 and was awarded a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Law.
Kabui was a member of the Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands (1980-1994) and a director of its portfolio companies such as Solomon Airlines, Solomon Taiyo Ltd., and Sasape Marina Ltd. As Attorney General he was an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, which appoints judges, magistrates and all office holders in the legal field. He remains a member of the Commission in his capacity as President of the Bar Association.
Kabui became the first Chairman of the Law Reform Commission on 1 December 1994. It was a five-year appointment, but he left after three years and five months when he was appointed as a judge of the High Court of Solomon Islands. On 11 May 1998 he was appointed as Puisine Judge of the High Court. That court has unlimited jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters, and also acts as a Court of Appeal for appeals from the Magistrates' Court and a Court of Review for all cases heard by the Magistrates' Courts in its supervisory power over the lower courts. He was also one of the ex-officio members of the Solomon Islands Court of Appeal on the Constitution.
Kabui retired from the judiciary in April 2006 and was reappointed Chairman of the Law Reform Commission. He also became Chairman of the Steering Committee tasked to formulate legislation to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Solomon Islands. He was also a member of the Political Parties and Integrity Committee assigned to draft legislation to control members of Parliament from moving across the floor and moving motions of no-confidence. He became Governor-General on 7 July 2009 for a five-year term. Earlier in his career Kabui received an O.B.E., a C.M.G. and a Cross of Solomon Islands. In October 2009 he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. In July 2011 Sir Frank was appointed as Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific for one year. He was married in 1977, and divorced and remarried in 1993. There are a number of children from these two marriages. (SND 7 Feb. 1975; SS 2 June 2006; Kabui curriculum vitae)