Philip Undialu

Potape petition review next week

Francis Potape’s petition challenging Philip Undialu’s election as Hela Governor was dismissed by the National Court on January 24.

The National Court threw out the petition because essential facts were not pleaded to support the two petition grounds.

The court upheld Undialu’s challenge on the competency of the petition, and found alternate pleadings were instead stated, which made it confusing for the court.

Potape was seeking to be declared by the court as member-elect. The court found that relief sought was based on assumptions.

Hela focuses on restoration, relief

Governor Philip Undialu said according to information they have received so far, most of the powerlines, roads, health and education infrastructure have all crumbled during the quake.

One of the most seriously affected areas is the LNG site and the facilities, which are currently on a temporary shutdown.

Governor reports service disruption in Hela

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred at 03:44 am on Monday (26 February) in the Southern Highlands region, about 30km South of Tari and about 40km North-West of Lake Kutubu.

Governor for Hela Province, Philip Undialu, told this newsroom that an unconfirmed number of people have been injured while communication with authorities in Hela has been lost.

Undialu said health and education infrastructure have also been damaged and the province is looking at a temporary shutdown of vital services until further notice.

Over K400m budget for Hela Province

Governor Philip Undialu released a public statement on Tuesday confirming this, and promised that its first priority will be to assist students.

Governor Undialu said officers from Treasury will travel to Tari this week to load the provincial government accounts before money can be withdrawn to implement its first priority of school fees.

However, the Governor has urged parents to be equally responsible and pay up compulsory fees to ensure their children are registered.

He said the government will only assist given the increased number of students.

Petitioners seek review in Supreme Court

Francis Potape’s petition was dismissed by the National Court on January 24. He was challenging Philip Undialu’s win as Hela Governor.

He will be seeking leave of the Supreme Court to review the reasons behind the dismissal of his petition next Wednesday.

The grounds of the review are on the basis that the National Court went outside the objection grounds raised by Undialu and made findings on its own.

The high court will hear the review if leave is granted.

The petitioner in the Jimi Open seat has also filed for review in the Supreme Court.

Hela petitions to be heard separately

Justice Ellenas Batari today granted an application by Undialu, allowing the trial to be heard separately after the National Court on 17 November last year, ordered that the two petitions go for hearing together.

The court varied the order which earlier joined the two petitions for trial.

The hearing of the petitions will take place pending the outcome of objections filed by the Electoral Commission challenging the competency of the petitions.

Hela petition asked to be heard separately

Undialu’s lawyer filed an application seeking to vary the order of 17 November 2017, which joined the two petitions filed by Francis Potape and Dr Hewali Hemia for trial.

Justice Ellenas Batari today heard arguments in court and will give a ruling next week.

Undialu’s lawyer submitted in court today that the two petitions should be tried separately because they have different factual scenarios and seek different reliefs.  

The petition filed by Potape seeks orders of the court to nullify Undialu’s election and declare him the duly elected member.

Hela leaders call for respect

Petitioners Francis Potape, Dr Hewali Hemia and incumbent MP Philip Undialu had their lawyers address the court today on whether to hear the two petitions separately or together after Undialu’s lawyer asked the court to vary the orders which joined the two petitions for trial.

Potape, who brought in a total of 60 witnesses from Hela, Mt Hagen, Lae and as far as Wewak, is calling for respect and peace among the supporters.

“I don’t want anyone to threaten anyone. No one should threaten any of the witnesses,” Potape said.

Witness in Hela petition given till tomorrow

Chief Sergeant Mike Imara and lawyer John Ole were summoned by Francis Potape to appear for the petition hearing, which commenced today. Only Ole was present in court.

Trial Judge Justice Ellenas Batari gave the officer until Friday morning to appear in court or a bench warrant will be issued.

The two joined petitions challenging Philip Undialu’s election as Hela Regional member went to court this morning for parties to sort out preliminary issues. Among these were the summons and other motions.

Hela Governor condemns attack on cops

The killing happened along the Mendi highway. 

Undialu said he had anticipated such an attack, which was why he came out in the media to warn the public not to interfere with issues affecting the people of Hela.

Governor Undialu said killing, robbery and rape is common along the Nipa-Mendi section of the Highlands Highway and leaders of the province need to come out and address this.

He said the name of the entire Southern Highlands and Hela province continues to be tarnished, thanks to a handful of troublemakers.