Potape’s petition back for trial

An election petition filed by Francis Potape, disputing Philip Undialu’s win that was dismissed on January 24 for being incompetent, has been remitted to the National Court for trial.

A three-man Supreme Court bench reinstated the case for trial in the National Court.

Out of the 79 petitions filed disputing election results last year, Potape’s petition is the first to be remitted to the National Court after a successful review by the Supreme Court.

It was dismissed on January 24 as it was found to be incompetent. The National Court saw that essential facts that should have been pleaded to support the two grounds of the petition were not stated.

Potape was asking the court to nullify Undiau’s election and declare him instead, alleging the returning officer acted erroneously.

He alleged he had exceeded absolute majority on 23 July 2017, however the returning officer returned the writ on 25 July 2017, declaring Undialu duly elected. 

He claims he had been validly awarded the absolute majority of votes after the elimination of Dr Hemia Hewali.

He filed for review in the Supreme Court, which ruled on Friday that his case was clear, and should be tested at trial.

Justices George Manuhu, Allen David and Terrence Higgins upheld Potape’s review, dismissing the earlier order of the National court from January 24.

Potape’s petition will now go back to the National Court for trial.

(Francis Potape)

Sally Pokiton