Madang regional petitions to run separately

The two petitions that are disputing Peter Yama’s election as Madang Governor are set for trial commencing next week at the Madang National Court.

The one filed by retired Defense Force commander, Major-General Jerry Singirok, will be heard by Justice Terrence Higgins from February 8-9.

The second petition, filed by James Yali, will go before the same judge from February 12 and will run for five days.

Justice Collin Makail finalised the trial dates for the second petition today after he refused two preliminary applications by Governor Peter Yama.

The first application asked the court to refer questions to the Supreme Court for interpretation in relation to the qualification of Yali when he nominated to contest the seat.

This application was found to be premature and was an abuse of process. The questions raised by Yama are also raised in the competency motion he also filed, which is yet to be determined.

With the competency motion pending, Justice Makail said the objection must be heard and determined first before the application to refer.

“If the objection is upheld on this ground, the petition will be dismissed and that will be the end of the petition,” he said.

The second application asked the court to consolidate or combine the two petitions for trial.

Both petitioners opposed consolidation of the petitions because the allegations in each petition are different.

Singirok’s petition alleged that Yali was not qualified to nominate to stand for public office, as he was serving an imprisonment term and on parole under section 103 of the Constitution.

Yali’s petition is grounded on allegations of errors and omission at counting in particular at the elimination process, including placing of ballot papers in one tray and absence of candidates’ scrutineers.

Justice Makail dismissed the application for consolidation because the allegations are different.

(Madang Governor Peter Yama)

Sally Pokiton