Abau petition thrown out

The anticipated election petition trial disputing Sir Puka Temu's re-election last year as Abau MP will no longer take place.

The Waigani National Court threw out the petition for being incompetent, stopping it from proceeding to the trial stage.

Justice Peter Toliken ordered the dismissal of the case after he found the petition failed to plead relevant and material facts to support his allegations of bribery.

He gave a ruling on a motion that was filed by Temu, challenging the competency of the petition that was filed by Evela Kala.

Kala challenged the election result on the ground of bribery, alleging two instances of direct bribery by Sir Puka and four instances of indirect bribery by agents and associates of the MP.

Among those are two direct allegations against Sir Puka at his residence at Korobosea, NCD, on 15 April 2017, and at Kupiano on 30 April, 2017.

The first allegation is described as giving out K46,000 to his strong supporters at his Korobosea residence.

The court dismissed this allegation because Sir Puka became a candidate only on his nomination at Kupiano on 26th April, 2017, after the issue of writs for Abau Open on 20th April, 2017.

He was not yet a candidate within the meaning of Section 215 of the Organic Law at the time of the alleged act.

There are also four instances of indirect bribery allegations against Temu or persons other than the first respondent, with the knowledge or authority of the Temu.

One of those indirect instances of bribery is alleged to have been part of the K46,000 allegedly advanced by Sir Puka to his coordinators on 15 April, 2017, at his Korobosea residence.

However, the court found the relevant pleadings on that allegation did not state that the man who is alleged to have received some of the money (Maki Ivi) was among those present then.

“So how could Maki Ivi be connected to the money trail, so to speak? An important link or nexus is missing here. It is a material and relevant fact that ought to have been pleaded,” Justice Toliken said in his ruling.

“The petitioner has failed to plead relevant and material facts to support his allegations of bribery and therefore the petition ought to be dismissed in its entirety.”

Sally Pokiton