Unidentified EC Officials Raise Suspicions

A scuffle broke out at Lae’s Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium on Tuesday afternoon when two tinted, unmarked vehicles attempted to enter the counting venue.

Scrutineers became suspicious and would not let the vehicles through, claiming that two ballot boxes were inside.

Returning officer (RO), Kusak Meluk, clarified that the vehicles were hired by the Electoral Commission, and EC officials were there to see him regarding preparations for counting.

“That was the fault of the Electoral Commission,” RO Meluk said.

“I told them, it’s sensitive now.

“As soon as Nawaeb (Urban) people remove their stuff (ballot boxes), then we can go down.”

Meluk said the EC officials did not heed his advice and went looking for him at the stadium.

The scrutineers did not believe them when they verbally identified themselves.

“And they were not dressing up well too,” said Meluk.

“They just came in their short jeans, cut jeans, so people there thought ‘Oh, you’re just one of us and you’re trying to go in there to steal ballot papers’.

“They chased them and a confrontation ensued.”

The scrutineers brought their candidate over, who started arguing and was allegedly assaulted by police officers there.

Warning shots had to be fired as well to disperse the crowd.

Wokabaut ples klia, ples klia, (walk in the open) so you don’t draw suspicions on yourselves.”

He urged everyone participating in the electoral process to ensure they are properly identified, including the use of marked vehicles, wearing of uniforms and visible ID cards.

Carmella Gware