Kuman asks court to dismiss petition

Gumine MP Nick Kuman has asked the National Court to dismiss the petition that was filed by Dawa Lucas Dekena, disputing his win in the election.

His lawyer yesterday asked the court to dismiss the petition on the basis it is incompetent.

He submitted before Justice Derek Hartshorn that the petition failed to comply with the five mandatory requirement stated in section 208 of the Organic Law.

This is for the petitioner to set out the facts that the court must rely on to invalidate the election, specify relief sought, be signed by the candidate or a qualified voter, be attested by two witnesses whose  occupation and address are stated and be filed at the courthouse within 40 days after the declaration of the result.

Here Kuman’s lawyer said the petitioner failed to plead the number of votes collected by the winner and runner-up respectively, the absolute majority figure and total number of ballot papers allowed during counting.

The petition was filed on grounds of undue influence and illegal practice and Kuman’s lawyer submitted they must be drafted to say how the election ought to be affected.

Dekena alleged ballot boxes were tampered with but Kuman said he did not state how exactly this happened.

It was put before the National Court that Dekena’s declaration was made at the Kundiawa counting centre by Returning Officer Max Yomba on 28 July, two days after absolute majority of 13,861 was reached. He polled 13,870 while Kuman scored 13,849 votes.

Kuman was declared winner by a Freddy Yuan on July 29 at the Electoral Commission Headquarters.

A ruling on the competency motion will be made at a later date.

(Gumine MP Nick Kuman)

Sally Pokiton