Funds used, recount yet to start

Half a million kina of the budget, allocated for the Simbu regional recount, has already been used up on service providers in Lae while the recount is yet to commence.

The recount has been put off, while the Electoral Commission and Police are in discussion over the recount location, taking security into account.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato, told this newsroom from Lae, the National Court’s order was to have the recount conducted outside Simbu.

He said he will be in breach of a court order if the recount takes place in Simbu, adding Police will have to understand and comply with the court order.

Gamato also said the National Government allocated K1.7 million and not K3 million to complete the West Sepik Regional, Kandep Open trial and Simbu regional recount.

The Electoral Commission officials’ attempts to move the ballot boxes down to Lae for the recount have been opposed by disgruntled supporters in Kundiawa.

Gamato further said police will need to provide security to his officials, and with the Court order to have the recount outside Simbu, they can re-organise and bring the recount to Goroka or Jiwaka if Lae is too far.

On the other hand, Police Commissioner Gari Baki is against the idea of moving the ballot boxes all the way from Kundiawa to Lae, saying it will be highly risky and would place his men in danger.

Meantime, a two-day National Election Manager's workshop is being held in Lae in preparation for 2019 LLG Election. The workshop ends today.

Sally Pokiton