Yama asks court to refer questions

Madang Governor Peter Yama and the Electoral Commission have asked the Waigani National Court to refer certain constitutional questions to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

They filed a motion before the Court of Disputed Returns in the petition that was filed by retired Defense Force commander, Major-General Jerry Singirok, in the 2017 election over the Madang Regional seat.

They asked the National Court to refer questions for determination surrounding the qualification of election runner-up, James Yali, to nominate and stand for election.  

The court told them to draft the proposed questions and have them filed in court this week before the matter returns tomorrow (Friday).

This petition has been set for trial from 8th to 9th of February 2018 at the Madang National Court, pending the ruling of this motion.

In this petition, Singirok is alleging that there were acts of bribery and undue influence during the election.

He is also disputing Yama’s win on the grounds that Yali was not qualified but the Electoral Commission allowed him to nominate and contest the election under section 50 (1) (a) of the Constitution, thus affecting the votes.

At the time Yali nominated on April 27, 2017, he was on parole after being convicted and jailed for rape.

Another petition filed by Yali disputing Yama’s election will be affected from progressing to trial if the National Court agrees with Yama and refers the questions to the Supreme Court. 

Sally Pokiton