Electoral Commissioner

Funding issues hinder electoral roll update: Gamato

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said this, in turn, resulted in a good number of voters being turned away at polling places, thus denying their democratic right to actively participate in the election process to elect their LLG assembly representatives.

“While we (PNGEC) accept blame as the election management body of PNG, I equally would hold the national government responsible for not providing the necessary funds to enable the Commission to update the roll in 2018,” Gamato said in a statement.

LLG elections progressive report

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says most polling should have been completed by July 23 or tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24. 

“There are minor or isolated incidents reported but generally polling and counting is progressing well.”

Gamato outlines the progressive report on polling and counting by provinces as follows:

Follow procedures, advises Gamato

He issued the comments after Madang MP Bryan Kramer filed a complaint with the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate to investigate the commissioner on electoral fraud allegations.

It is also in response to lawyer Stanley Liria’s comments in one of the dailies on problems faced during the 2017 National Elections.

Gamato defamation case dismissed

Justice Ere Kariko summarily dismissed the defamation proceeding today.

He raised concerns on the growing number of cases in court where lawyers do not comply with directions issued by the court.

In this case filed by Gamato in July last year, Judge Kariko said there are straight forward facts on defamatory claims against the blogger.

Gamato alleged the blogger published defamatory remarks, associating his surname with a fruit.

Verdict next week

A man has stood trial at the Waigani National Court over allegations he impersonated his uncle between June 2015 and January 2017, to access Service providers’ payments from the 2012 National Elections.

Joseph Ande made false representations as Thomas Martin, at the Westpac Bank, to access monies for services rendered to the Electoral Commission.

He allegedly opened two accounts at the bank, using a fake driver’s license, to access two BPNG Cheques drawn from the PNG Electoral Commission totaling K61, 000.

Gamato responds to Opposition’s statements

He made the remark following recent statements by Member for Sinesine-Yongomugl, Kerengu Kua, Opposition Leader and Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch and Northern Governor Gary Juffa in the daily papers on election issues.

“Firstly, let me advise the respective leaders that some of these matters are in court as election petitions, therefore, we must all respect the judicial process and refrain from making public statements until the Courts have dealt with the election petitions,” said Gamato in an 11-page statement.

Gamato calls for referendum funding

Gamato said they have yet to receive funding despite the referendum being almost a year away.

There are key areas the Electoral Commission needs to address before the referendum.

Gamato said K20 million has been allocated under the 2018 National Budget for the purposes of preparing for the referendum however, they are yet to receive a toea.

He also called on the ABG for their support.

Legislative changes for referendum needed: Gamato

He said the main area of change needed is in Schedule One of the Organic Law on Peace Building in Bougainville.

Gamato said this clause deals with the operational process of the referendum.

He stated they have gone through and made comments where changes can be done.

The process of legislative changes is quite long and Gamato hopes the alterations can go through.

EC powers questioned

The reference looks at what kind of powers the Electoral Commissioner has.

Filed by the Ombudsman Commission in July last year, the Supreme Court wants the reference to be heard quickly and has issued directions to the commission to comply with before February 14.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia today endorsed draft index to the reference books and proposed answers to the reference questions that were drafted by the Ombudsman Commission. This including the statement of facts from the Commission.

About 15 questions were proposed to the Supreme Court to interpret.

LLG election dates yet to be confirmed

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato is conscious of the LLG elections not disturbing the APEC meetings.

Earlier this year, Commissioner Gamato had used his powers to defer the LLG Elections 12 months after the 2017 National General Elections.

This means the LLG elections would commence in July 2018.

The year 2018 is also significant as the country looks forward to hosting one of the biggest world meetings, APEC.