EC waits for K2.5m

The Electoral Commission is awaiting funding of K2.5 million to be released by the government to fund the Simbu regional recount.

It has also gotten an extension of 51 days to conduct the recount, as ordered by the National Court.

The recount that was ordered in November last year has not started due to various disputes over the recount venue, which was set by the Electoral Commissioner.

The results were due on Wednesday, February 6th.

On Friday, the Electoral Commission was granted an extension of 51 days – from February 6 – to conduct the court ordered Simbu provincial seat recount, and return the results for verification by the Waigani National Court.

Since the recount order of November 2018, half a million was spent by the Electoral Commission on service providers in Lae, where the recount was to take place.

That recount has not commenced, while the container containing the ballot boxes remained at the Kundiawa police station.

Recently a decision was made for the recount to be moved to Goroka, a much closer distance for the ballot papers to be moved.

And with the extension of 51 days obtained by the court to do the recount, the Electoral Commission is now awaiting the release of K2.5 million, which is the balance of K3 million allocated for the recount, to conduct it in Goroka.

Police will also be supporting the Electoral Commission with three mobile squad units to beef up security.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has dismissed rumours of tampered ballot papers for the Simbu regional recount circulating in the highlands region.

The Waigani National Court last November upheld an election petition filed by former Simbu Governor Noah Kool against the win of Michael Dua in the 2017 national election and ordered for a recount.

Dua, who remains governor pending the recount, won with a margin of over 11,000 votes in 2017.

Sally Pokiton