Muthuvel in clear

West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel is now in the clear from bribery allegations and others relating to his election victory after the National Court dismissed a petition disputing his win.

The Waigani National Court dismissed all grounds of the petition that was filed by Chris Lagisa.

Justice George Manuhu found the petition incompetent, dismissing it and ordered for the security deposit of K5,000 to pay for Muthuvel and the Electoral Commission’s costs.

One of the petition grounds which questioned Muthuvel’s citizenship status was found to be incompetent.

Lagisa alleged that Muthuvel had a dual citizenship status however, the court found that was just an assumption.

Muthuvel’s Indian passport was surrendered to the Indian High Commission in May of 2007.

Four allegations of bribery against him could not proceed to trial.

The first allegation did not indicate the date writs were issued to support his allegation that a mobile phone was given on April 12, 2017, in exchange for a vote.

The writs were issued on April 20, 2017; Muthuvel was not yet a candidate.

The second and third bribery allegations relate to K1,100 cash given to John Simbi on 18 July 2017. Polling in West New Britain ran from June 30- July 1. The incident took place well after polling period, thus was found to be incompetent.

The last bribery allegation relates to two campaign officers giving John Simbi, a strong supporter of Muthuvel, a ‘shopping bag’.

Justice Manuhu said being a supporter of Muthuvel, he is expected to vote for him.

Two grounds of undue influence also alleging Simbi was influenced by the distribution of 10 sewing machines for churches in exchange for votes were also dismissed.

Sally Pokiton
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