Potape disputes declaration claim

Declarations of Hela Governor is likely to go to the courts.

Loop PNG understands that, Philip Undialu, has been declared as Governor-elect for Hela Province by Election Manager John Tipa.

However, this is being disputed by Francis Potape, alleging that Tipa burnt the master tally board this morning before doing the declaration.

Potape further alleges that Tipa had been bribed by the People’s National Congress (PNC) Party to declare Undialu without following the proper legal process.

Potape told Loop PNG from Tari that after the final elimination, his score was 67,435 while Undialu collected 65,836.

“I have gone past the absolute majority to be declared but really don’t know why the Election Manager is running away with Undialu and other PNC MPs,” Potape said.

He is now calling on the Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, to look into this and make a decision as the Hela people are still waiting for the results.

However, Undialu said counting was still continuing when Potape reached 66,428.

He told Loop PNG that there were 6 ballot boxes remaining to be counted when Potape and his supporters moved into the counting centre to be declared.

Undialu said they were removed by security personnel.

Meanwhile Hela Provincial Police Commander, Michael Veli, said security operations during the counting period is very strict and commended his men and women for a job well done.

He told Loop PNG that anything to do with the declarations and other matters will be the responsibility of the Election Commission.

Numerous attempts to get in touch with Provincial Election Manager John Tipa has been unsuccessful.

Loop PNG has obtained a picture which clearly features Undialu and Tipa in what appears to be a declaration as both men are holding up the writ for the Hela Regional Seat as well as pictures revealing the burning of the master tally board.

Freddy Mou