Candidates allege scrutineers excluded from counting

Candidates contesting the NCD Regional seat are alleging that the lawful process of scrutiny is not being met by presiding officers during counting.

The 12 candidates who have filed a proceeding in the National Court on July 13, 2017 returned to court today.

Their lawyer, Paul Othas told the court that they are pursuing the case because there are allegations of polling officials and scrutineers being excluded from the counting process currently underway at the Rita Flynn courts.  

Candidates; Andy Bawa, Jamie Maxtone-Graham, Michael Kandiu, Robert Agen, James Melegepa, Tom Watinga, Steven Kilage, Brian Pulume, Noel Anjo, Francis Tanga, Jamuga Stone and Bonny Igime, said the mandatory requirements of requirements of section 154(2) (Scrutiny of ordinary votes in elections) of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections (OLNLLGE) are not being met.

Othas said they are not trying to stop the process of counting but for counting to be done lawfully as per requirements of the Organic law.

And instead of asking the courts for the interim orders they were seeking in the urgent application they filed, Othas today asked the court to withdraw the application and for the court to deal with the substantive matter while counting is still taking place.

The urgent application they filed earlier includes seeking orders to stop counting pending the final outcome of the matter and for the court to order that candidates’ scrutineers be allowed to raise objection in accordance to the organic law.

Presiding judge, Justice Collin Makail allowed for the withdrawal of the application.

He will now deal with the substantive case on Friday after lunch.

This adjournment will also give time to lawyer representing the NCD Election Manager Alwyn Jimmy to get an affidavit or statement in response to the allegations the candidates are raising.

Lawyer representing incumbent NCD Governor Powes Parkop, Mirian Ai was also in court today.

She indicated they will be asking the court to join in the proceeding if the court proceeds to hear the substantive matter tomorrow.

(Loop PNG File picture of some of the candidates who filed the case.)



Sally Pokiton