Namah Calls for Investigation

Opposition Leader and Vanimo Green MP, Belden Namah commended members of the security forces deployed to the Highlands region for their quick action over what he alleges is possible election fraud.

“I call upon Prime Minister and Tari Pori MP, James Marape to explain the lapse in the security which has seen the fraudulent diversion of sensitive election materials in Enga, Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces. This is happening under his watch and he must explain why this is carried out in the three provinces where his voters are directly domicile in or share borders with.’

Namah has also called on the security forces election contingent commander in the Highlands region, to conduct proper and close interrogation of suspects caught in the diversion of containers containing election materials to establish the circumstances around the issue. “The PNG Electoral Commission must likewise explain the lapse in security and why its officers are involved in illegal manoeuvres to defraud elections.”

The PNG Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, in an official statement, explained the circumstances surrounding the seizing of the empty metal ballot boxes by police.

Sinai said the boxes are being held at the Mendi Police Station in Southern Highlands Province, along with additional non-sensitive election materials.

Commissioner Sinai confirmed that on June 22, 2022, he instructed that the PNGEC logistics convoy redirect two containers of empty metal ballot boxes from Southern Highlands to Hela and Enga Provinces for the following reasons:

  • Due to an ongoing 2017 election petition, SHP was not able to access the containers to obtain non-disputed empty metal ballot boxes at the time of dispatch of strategic materials, therefore the PNGEC sent three containers of empty metal ballot boxes to SHP.
  • Whilst these containers were in transit to SHP, approval to access the containers in SHP occurred and as a result the stock take of empty ballot boxes was confirmed.
  • Accordingly, SHP would no longer need all three containers of empty metal ballot boxes that were being transported to SHP on top of the stocks in the province.
  • During this time, the PNGEC identified that Hela and Enga provinces required empty metal ballot boxes due to the delayed arrival of metal ballot boxes allocated to them.

“Therefore, I made a decision and instructed the convoy to redirect one container of empty metal ballot boxes to Hela Province and another container to Enga Province to ensure that these provinces will have enough ballot boxes when polling starts in these areas on July 4, 2022,” Sinai said. He added, “I wish to state for the record that there was no improper or unauthorized diversion of empty ballot boxes. Everything that was done was in accordance with my instructions and in line with my authority as the Electoral Commissioner.’

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