Election Petition 95 dismissed

Election Petition 95 of 2022 in the matter of disputed return for the Madang Provincial Electorate by Peter Yama against incumbent Governor Ramsey Pariwa and the Electoral Commission has been dismissed.

Presiding Judge, Justice David Cannings wholly dismissed the case on grounds that the petitioner failed to prove his case to satisfaction.

Justice Cannings further stipulated the 7 reasons that came down to his decision;

  1. The Petitioner (Yama) presented only one eyewitness, who testified that he was present at the campaign event at Tugutugu Village, Karkar Island. Considering the fact that it was a rally and many eyewitnesses would have been able to attest to remarks made by Pariwa. This evidence required corroboration, but there was none.
  2. The eyewitness’s oral testimony contradicted allegations of “undue influence” as the petition alleged that he was swayed by Pariwa’s speech, yet he did vote for the petitioner (Yama).
  3. The primary eyewitness was not convincing and lacked credibility in his evidence.
  4. The other 4 witnesses for the petitioner (Yama) did not provide strong arguments of Pariwa making similar statements during two pre-campaign events.
  5. Though Mr. Lomai (Yama’s lawyer) argued why Pariwa did not involve other witnesses to his story and chose to rely exclusively on his own evidence, Justice Cannings maintains, it was the petitioner who at all times bore the burden of proof.
  6. Pariwa was reasonably convincing as he spoke firmly and authoritatively. While there is a lingering doubt about whether Pariwa was telling the truth, there is not enough doubt to tilt the case in the petitioner’s favour.
  7. The petitioner’s case is simply not strong enough to warrant a finding that Pariwa committed the offence of undue influence under section 102(b) of the Criminal Code

The petitioner (Yama) is ordered to pay any specific costs that the first respondent (Pariwa) has incurred during the proceedings, whilst the second respondent (EC) will bear its own costs.

Pariwa thanked his supporters and assured the people of Madang Province that God has given them victory through ballot boxes and today he has given them justice.

Mr. Yama and lawyer Lomai clarified why their case was dismissed. Both indicated they will have a look at the case again to identify inconsistencies.

With Election Petition 95 out of the way, Governor Pariwa faces Election Petition 93 today, filed by Madang regional candidate and retired Major General, Jerry Singirok.

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