North-Waghi petition incompetent

The election dispute over the North-Waghi seat has been thrown out by the National Court for being incompetent.

Petitioner Mond Palme failed to meet mandatory requirements of the Organic Law when it was filed.

Speaking to the media, MP Fabian Pok said he believed from the start that the petition was malice by disgruntled candidates and thanked the courts.

“Today is a win for the people of North-Waghi. In my last term I provided a lot of service and I intend to do that. My door is open for the candidates to come forward and we discuss the way forward,” Pok said.

The petition was filed on September 1 after Pok’s declaration on 25 July.

It raised allegations of bribery by Pok and his coordinators at Banz on 27 May and 14 June 2017.

Allegations of errors and omission and illegal practices at the Singarok barracks after six polling places were centralized in one area were also raised.

Before the commencement of trial, the court heard two objection to competency motions from Pok as well as the Electoral Commission.

A total of 14 objections grounds were raised. Among these were the mandatory non-compliance of Form 4 of the 2017 Election petition rules.

Justice Frazer Pitpit addressed the objection, starting with the threshold issue with the basic non-compliance with Form 4 of the Election petition rules.

He found the petition did not meet requirements of section 208 subsection(c) of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections.

Justice Pitpit went on to say that election petition rules were made for parties to comply with. They are no less than the Organic Law and Constitution.

Consequently he dismissed the whole proceeding as the fundamental threshold issue, which was to do with the non-compliance of mandatory forms.

Mond has been ordered to pay the cost of the petition.

(MP Fabian Pok)

Sally Pokiton