Kuman restrained by court

The Waigani National Court has restrained Nick Kuman from being sworn into parliament.

The orders were issued at 11:50am today by Justice Collin Makail after hearing an urgent ex-parte application filed by Dawa Lucas Dekena.

Dekena's lawyers are now in the process of serving the orders on the Speaker and clerk of parliament.

Kuman has been restrained from being sworn in and making the declaration of loyalty and office now in parliament.

Justice Makail said both Dekena and Kuman should not participate at all in parliament until the case is determined.

The court now has to decide who the duly-elected member of Gumine Open is.

Dekena's lawyer, Greg Egan, put before Justice Makail that Kuman's declaration, which was accepted by Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato on 31 July, was done by Returning Office Peter Kalpe.

Egan put evidence before court that Kalpe has been dead since 3 February 2017. There was evidence of a post-mortem direction dated 7 February presented before the court.

Dekena was declared on 28 July at the Kundiawa counting centre by Returning Officer Max Yomba.

He polled 13,870 while Kuman scored 13,849 votes. The absolute majority was 13,861.

Egan said the duly-appointed RO is Yomba, who signed the writ that was issued on April 20. This writ was signed by Dekena on 28 July.

(Loop file pic)

Sally Pokiton