Muthuvel challenges petition

Two motions challenging the competency of the election petition filed against Sasindran Muthuvel’s re-election as West New Britain Regional MP have been heard by the National Court.

The objections to competency were moved by lawyers representing Governor Muthuvel and the Electoral Commission.

Muthuvel’s lawyer Stanley Liria submitted a fundamental mandatory requirement in the petition was not met by petitioner Chris Lagisa.

Liria said Form 4 of the 2017 Election Petition rules were not complied with, which is a fundamental breach of section 208 (c) of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections.

This objection to competency ground relates to the date not being inserted by Lagisa when he signed the petition.

Lagisa’s lawyer Philimon Korowi rebutted saying such failure to insert the date on the petition is not a requirement and should not be fatal to the petition.

Another competency ground raised by Muthuvel’s lawyer relates to one of the attesting witnesses not being a resident in the province.

One of the two witnesses whose occupation and address was stated in the petition, resides in Port Moresby and not the West New Britain province.

The ruling on the objections has been reserved to next week Wednesday.

In this petition, Lagisa is alleging four counts of bribery and two counts of undue influence against Muthuvel.

He also raises ground of errors and omission in relation to Muthuvel’s qualification to stand for public office.

The allegations will be looked into, pending the ruling on the two objections to competency motions.

Sally Pokiton
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