Maru, supporters restrained

Petitioner in the Yangoru-Saussia seat, Peter Wararu Waranaka, has successfully obtained a protection order from the Waigani National Court against the sitting MP and his supporters.

Justice Collin Makail on Thursday granted the order, restraining second term MP, Richard Maru, and his supporters from interfering, intimidating, threatening and assaulting the witnesses Waranaka intends to use in the petition.

The court also restrained Chief Executive Officer of the Yangoru-Saussia District development Authority, Fantson Yanien, Yangoru police station commander Inspector Philip Kaupa, Lesley Maringu of Handra village, the ward member of Handra village, Jacob Hombihuro of the Numbo LLG, Yangoru-Saussia District, the committees, coordinators and supporters of Maru, from interfering with Waranaka’s witnesses and their families named in election petition No. 36 of 2017.

The order is in place until such time the election petition is fully determined by the National Court.

Waranaka’s lawyer, John Alman, took out the orders yesterday afternoon.

Maru’s lawyer Paul Mawa was not present in court when the application was moved and order granted.

The Electoral Commission’s lawyer was the only respondent who was present. The commission’s lawyer suggested for the court to issue a blanket protection order for all parties to respect each other’s witnesses, however the request for blanket order was not before the court.

The court however granted leave for Maru and the Electoral Commission to file objections on the competency of the petition out of time.

The matter returns on December 4 for pre-trial conference where the trial dates will be set.

Waranaka is alleging 22 counts of bribery in the petition and is also alleging grounds of errors and omission on the part of the Electoral Commission during counting.

The petition seeks a re-count of the votes cast in the election.

Sally Pokiton