Election petition cases against Pariwa to proceed

Verdicts on the ruling of the objections to competency by 1st Defendant, Madang Governor Ramsey Pariwa and 2nd Defendant, the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC), filed by Peter Yama and Jerry Singirok were delivered at Madang National Court House yesterday.

Justice David Cannings delivered that the election petitions filed in court against the sitting regional MP will go to trial.

The first ruling was on objections filed by Mr. Pariwa and the PNGEC against Singirok (petitioner), disputing the election of Mr. Pariwa as member for Madang Provincial in the 2022 general election.

 Singirok’s petition contains two (2) grounds of challenge:

  • Ground 1: (part C1 of the petition) alleged errors and omissions by the Electoral Commission during polling which affected the outcome of the election for the purposes of s 218(1) of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government elections.
  • Ground 2: (part C2) alleged errors and omissions by the Electoral Commission during counting which affected the outcome of the election for the purposes of s 218(1) of the Organic Law.

These gave rise to eight (8) grounds of objections to competency by the 1st and 2nd Defendant respectively. However, all grounds of the objection to competency were refused by Justice Cannings, with the 1st respondent to pay the petitioner’s costs of the objection to competency on a party-party basis, which shall, if not agreed, be taxed.

Justice Cannings, conclusively stated that the petition will proceed to trial in accordance with directions of the Court.

Mr. Yama’s ruling to competency was also on objections made by Mr. Pariwa and the PNGEC on six (6) grounds of challenge:

  • Ground 1: errors and omissions by the Electoral Commission in unlawfully extending the date fixed for the return of writ for the election
  • Ground 2: undue influence by the 1st respondent in mid-April 2022, at Potsdam care centre
  • Ground 3: undue influence by the 1st respondent on 29 June 2022 at Tugutugu village, Karkar LLG, Sumkar District
  • Ground 4: errors and omissions by the Electoral Commission during scrutiny in failing to comply with ss 147, 148 and 149 of the Organic Law
  • Ground 5: illegal practices by the 1st respondent and other persons including members of the Police Force that affected the result of the election
  • Ground 6: errors and omissions by the Electoral Commission in allowing an unqualified candidate, James Yali, to nominate for the election

Three of those grounds (2, 5 and 6) were abandoned with leave of the Court prior to the hearing, leaving the petition based on grounds 1, 3 and 4.

Upon orders of Justice Cannings, Grounds 1 and 4 of the petition were struck out, leaving the petition to proceed to trial on Ground 3, as the question of whether the statements allegedly made by the First Respondent were true, could only be determined at a trial.

It is alleged that Mr. Pariwa made the following statement in Tok Pisin, during a campaign rally at Tugutugu Village, Karkar Island:

“Nau gavman bilong Peter Yama em corrupt. Peter Yama em wanpela corrupt man stret na em wanpela steal man.” (Peter Yama’s government today is corrupt. Peter Yama is a corrupt man and a thief.)

“Peter Yama em wanpela bisnis man em appim em yet na em no nap mekim wanpela samtin blong Madang. Em wok long usim public funds lo runim own bisnis bilong em.” (Peter Yama is a businessman and he will only better himself. He will not do anything for Madang. He is using public funds to run his businesses)

“Peter Yama em wanpela bisnis man na mani man tasol em wanpela steal man noken votim em. Lo mi em Marape Gavman i givim mi K5,000.00 lo kam na campaign.” (Peter Yama is a businessman and a man with money, but he is a thief. As for me, I was given K5,000 by the Marape government to campaign.)

Mr. Pariwa’s objection to Ground 3 of the petition argued that, it failed to plead the elements of the offence of undue influence, but it was refused, so the matter will be trialed.

Both Yama and Singirok’s cases have been conjoined to appear for a full trial, with witnesses, on September 07th, 1:30pm at the Madang National Court House.

Walking out of the courtroom, the noticeably elated Mr. Yama and Mr. Singirok told supporters outside the court house that they respect the decision for a full trial come September 07th. Governor Pariwa, who had no comment for media on the rulings, left the court house with truck loads of supporters.

Meanwhile, as politics is up in its highest performance within the province, citizens and taxpayers are wondering when the charade will end, and for tangible development to take place. Many are also questioning what this could mean for Madang Province, as the urban district has been without a leader for months now. Will the province end up having a vacancy in its highest office as well?

Author: 
Loop author