Former RO case remains at Waigaini

The criminal case against former returning Officer for the 2014 Madang Open by-election recount, Simon Sinai, will remain at the Waigani where it will undergo the Committal Court process.

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar said the case will remain at Waigani after Police Prosecution asked the court to have the matter transferred to the Madang District court to undergo the committal court process, where the offenses are alleged to have taken place.

From the Tambul area of Western Highlands Province, Sinai and his lawyer appeared in court today for the first time since his arrest where the allegations against him were read and explained to him in court.

His case was later adjourned for three months while police will continue its investigations. The matter will return for mention in March.

Sinai was arrested on December 11 and charged with one count of official corruption,  false declaration and perjury.

 He was the returning officer for the Madang Open by-election in 2014 and his arrest arrest follows alleged involvement in foul play during the by-elections for the Madang Open seat.

It is alleged that between 26 August and 8 October 2014 at the Jomba Catholic Parish Hall in Madang, he corruptly procured false election results for the National Court ordered recount of votes from the 2013 Madang Open by-election. This resulted in the declaration of former MP Nixon Duban.

Between the same dates and at the same venue, it is also alleged he made a statement before the court, saying the election results were true, thus he was charged under section 197 under the criminal code for false declaration.

It is further alleged that on 8 Oct 2014 at the Madang National Court, Sinai gave false testimony in court over the election recount results.

These are allegations at this stage and police will continue its investigations.

Sally Pokiton