He received a full report on what transpired during the election process for the Gumine Open electorate from the Election Manager for Simbu, Rev. Tom Sine.
He said the count was completed on Wednesday, 26 July, 2017.
Assistant Returning Officer Margaret Tokmun was the supervisor during the count and she called for the results from exclusion number 47.
Gamato said Tokmun gave the result out and also advised who led after the final exclusion over the absolute majority.
“When declarations were about to be made, a scrutineer, namely from Lucas Dawa Dekena, raised an issue of a polling place from Kumai-Bomai LLG ward 10, where the Presiding Officer signed two different signatures on the ballot papers.
“Ward 10 Keru from Kumai-Bomai LLG had a total of 713 ballot papers. Of this, a total of 412 open ballot papers were accepted for counting because it bore the signature as that found in the Journal.
“The same number of regional papers was transferred to the regional counting centre. These ballot papers were also being counted at the regional counting centre.
“After exclusion number 47, candidate Michael Sipa who was on third place with 7,172 votes, was excluded and his votes were distributed between the lead candidate Nick Kuman and runner-up Lucas Dawa Dekena,” he said.
Kuman collected 598 plus his score of 13,663, which brought his total to 14,261.
Lucas Dawa Dekena collected 734 from this exclusion, adding to his total of 13,136. This brought his final total score to 13,879.
“As far as the counting process is concerned, Nick Kuman won with a difference of 391 votes. This was according to Count Supervisor Margret Tokmun, ARO for Digine.
“The decision to remove 412 votes after final elimination from the leading candidate Nick Kuman was the sole decision of the former Returning Officer Max Yomba,” Gamato said.
“The RO Max Yomba did announce to the counting officials and the candidate that he will remove the 412 votes from the lead candidate and go ahead with declaration. It is wrong to remove votes after the elimination process.
“After verifying the results in Forms 66A & 66B, it was found that the eliminations were in order where Nick Kuman scored the required absolute majority of 50% + 1 as required under LPV.
“The new Returning Officer, Fredy Yan, then declared Nick Kuman as duly elected Member-elect for Gumine Open electorate before my Deputy Commissioner Simon Sinai here at the Electoral Commission headquarters in Port Moresby on Saturday, 29 July, 2017,” Gamato added.
(Loop file pic)