Wosera-Gawi petition dismissed

The Wosera-Gawi election petition dispute, filed by Francis Baindu, challenging Joesph Yopyyopy election has been dismissed from the National Court.

Justice George Manuhu dismissed the petition on Friday at the Wewak National Court.

Joseph Yopyyopy won the Wosera-Gawi seat with 10,822 votes while Francis Baindu, the first runner-up, collected 7,896 votes.

With a difference of 2,926 votes, Baindu filed the petition on seven counts of bribery.

Only two counts of bribery proceeded to the substantive trial which commenced early this week at the Wewak National Court.

The first count alleged that a Clement Koma, with the authority of Yopyyopy, gave a Yamaha boat motor to Lazarus Kaiban to get his and other youths’ votes.

Three witnesses were to be called however, those witness who were summoned did not file statements in court, making the allegation unsupported by evidence and was dismissed.

The other count of bribery alleged that Nelson Buka, a support of Yopyyopy gave Lux Keletku a solar panel on 27 June 2017 at Maprik in exchange for votes.

At the close of Baindu’s evidence at trial, Yopyyopy moved a no-case submission, asking the court not to proceed to hear evidence from him, as he had no case to answer to.

Justice George Manuhu was of the view there was prima facie evidence for the bribery allegation by Nelson Buka, however it had to be proven that; there must be prima facie evidence on the following five requirements: 

  • There was illegal practice;
  • Committed by another person;
  • With the knowledge or authority (of successful candidate);
  • Result of the election was likely to be affected; and
  • Thus, it is just that the result should be declared void

The court found no evidence that the result of the election was likely to be affected.

In fact, both allegations did not plead or state in the petition that the result of the election was likely to be affected.

Justice Manuhu said in the absence of evidence, the alleged bribery did not affect the result of the election.

The no-case submission was upheld and the petition dismissed with cost on Friday.

Sally Pokiton