181 witnesses to assist in petition against Maru

It is anticipated that 181 witnesses will give statements in the petition filed by Peter Wararu Waranaka against second term Yangoru-Saussia MP, Richard Maru.

The petition went for directions today, where Waranaka’s lawyer, John Alman, indicated they will be filing a motion seeking protection order of those witnesses.

Alman said they will be filing necessary application seeking to have the court restrain police and supporters of Maru, the first respondent, from intimidating or threatening the petitioner’s witnesses.

In this petition, Waranaka is alleging 22 counts of bribery.

He is also alleging grounds of errors and omission on the part of the Electoral Commission during counting and is seeking a re-count in the petition.  

He intends to bring 66 witnesses to support the bribery allegations, 45 witnesses for undue influence and 70 witnesses for errors and omission.

Maru’s lawyer, Paul Mawa, indicated calling 20 witnesses, but that could increase given the number of witnesses Waranaka indicated in court.

Still in the East Sepik Province, the election petition filed by Francis Essacu Baindu against second-term Wosera-Gawi MP, Joseph Yopyyopi, also came for directions today.

Baindu is alleging seven instances of bribery against the sitting MP.

He intends to call between 10-15 witnesses for the trial.

Both petitions will return mid-November for pre-trial conference.

Sally Pokiton