Ballot papers cost less overseas: Gamato

Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, has confirmed with Loop PNG that it has given instructions for ballot papers to be printed in Indonesia because the cost of printing them in PNG is three times higher than the current cost overseas.

Gamato says the current cost to print the ballot papers with embedded security features in Indonesia is only K6.6 million, which is almost three times lower than the Government Printing cost of K23 million.

“The Government printers cost for printing the ballot paper is K23 million. So I rejected that. And that K23 million includes ordering paper from overseas.

“So I said instead of ordering paper lets print outside and bring it in. So I’ve decided to print them outside. It’s not a government decision by the ruling government. Its an independent decision by the Electoral Commissioner.”

Gamato said the K23 million cost by the Government Printing House included nine security features.

He said the K6.6 million cost he got from Indonesia through an agent in PNG, included eight security features embedded into the ballot papers and delivery into the country.

Not wishing to disclose any further information, he added Electoral Commission staff are supervising the printing in Indonesia and it is under control.

Gamato revealed this to rebut allegations by Opposition Leader, Don Polye, that the EC instructed for the printing to be made in Indonesia following directions from politicians.

Polye alleges this move will see the printing of duplicates to be then used to rig the elections.

The Opposition Leader also raised several other allegations stating that Gamato was facilitating a rigged election to return the People National Congress (PNC) ruling party back into Government.

He also threatened Gamato that his life would be under threat if he did not retract the alleged illegal activities.

“I’m rebutting Opposition Leader’s comments that its all unfounded,” said Gamato.

He further reiterated, “the decision to order (ballot) papers is my decision (and)  its not a Government decision. It’s not (Prime Minister) Peter O’Neill’s or Cabinet decision. Its an independent decision made by the Commissioner. So he should not use that to play politics.

“Its my responsibility to manage and run the elections and I have to run it at a very low cost and those are the cost considerations that I’m putting in,” said Gamato.

He added the threats by Polye were below the belt and unbecoming of a leader and warned to involve the Police.

Loop file photo

Cedric Patjole