Date set for Hela by-election trial

The Waigani National Court will see the trial on the issue of the delay in the by-election of the Hela Governor’s seat, on Aug 25.

The matter was fixed for hearing by Justice Collin Makail after businessman Larry Andagali filed the case naming the Electoral Commission, National Executive Council and the state as defendants.

The case was filed over the delay in conducting a by-election for the Governor’s seat following the passing of the late Governor Anderson Agiru.

However, lawyer for the Electoral Commission, Ray William, told the court that the participation of the other defendants in the trial will not have a bearing on the outcome of the trial. He said the delay in conducting a by-election was due to lack of funding. K9 million will be needed to run the by-election.

Williams told Justice Makail that the other defendants listed are not involved directly on how elections are run. The NEC and the state have not filed appearance in the matter or appeared in court.

The court, in setting a hearing date, directed parties in the matter to file and serve submissions they will be presenting in court by Aug 23, two days before the trial.

Meanwhile, member for Koroba-Lake Kopiagio, Philip Undialu, was purportedly elected Governor on Aug 5 by the Provincial Assembly, two days after this issue first came to court on Aug 3.

Undialu’s lawyer Goiye Gileng will be filing an application seeking joinder in this case as a party.

Sally Pokiton