​Counting of boxes allowed despite video evidence

The video footage showing supporters of a particular candidate in the North Waghi electorate, filling in their preference on the ballot papers, is not enough for Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato to disqualify the boxes.

Gamato in a media conference yesterday afternoon in Port Moresby said only one of the six ballot boxes, which have allegations of foul play raised, will be put aside during the election counting.  

“According to observations by the State Legal Team for Jiwaka, for the first six disputed ballot boxes, there is some form of evidence in the form of amateur video footage for only one ballot box, which is for Kendu 1 polling place.

“The boxes from these polling venues of Bolba 1, Bolba 2, Tolu 1, Tolu 2, and Kendu 2 will be counted

“For the other five ballot boxes, the grounds for objections remain as allegations because there is no evidence produced to verify the allegations,” Gamato said.  

“The brief reports from polling officials, including presiding officials, provide that there was no major incident which contradicts the grounds raised in the objections.

“The Returning Officer for North Waghi, Andrew Kulangi, even provided a statement basically saying that the election was a success and that reports he had received from the six disputed polling venues say that polling in those areas was a success.”

The incident happened at PNG Defence Force Singirok Barracks.  

Charles Yapumi