Manus police rule out ballot box allegations

PNG Electoral Commission officials in Manus, as well as police, have ruled out allegations that seven ballot boxes filled with ballot papers are in the province and ready for counting.

With just five days away to the commencement of polling on June 24, Manus Provincial Police Commander, Chief Inspector David Yapu, is warning people from making false allegations or speculations.

“Such allegation is false and not true and will create doubts in the mindset of the voters,” PPC Yapu made these comments when ruling out rumours that seven ballot boxes were brought to the province and hidden away, awaiting polling.

An investigation team is in operation in the province and PPC Yapu said if people have such allegations or election-related issues, they should report to the team so that it can be investigated.

On Wednesday, June 14, empty ballot boxes with other election materials arrived in two containers at Lorengau wharf and were escorted to the police station.

“Those two containers containing the ballot papers, with empty ballot boxes and election materials, are kept safe at the police station and Police are providing security for them,” PPC Yapu said.

On Saturday, the returning officer and assistant returning officers unpacked containers containing polling materials for verification. This was witnessed by scrutineers of candidates and security personnel at the Lorengau Police Station.

The materials will be distributed on Friday to the polling venues.

The first lot of election materials were brought to Manus on June 10 onboard two Australian Defence Force aircrafts.

PPC Yapu said they were checked and loaded onto the vehicle and escorted to Lorengau Police Station with full escort from Joint Security Forces.

“Upon their arrival, they were checked and verified by the election officials and stored away in the container at Lorengau Police Station,” he added.

Sally Pokiton