Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato

Electoral Commissioner clarifies re-arrest

Gamato was taken by police at the Waigani Committal Court premises straight after attending to his substantive matter in Court and escorted to Boroko Police Station, where he was interrogated for almost three hours before being formally charged.

He was charged with two counts of “interfering with a state witness” to his substantive matter Alwynn Jimmy, who is also a staff of Electoral Commission.  

The first charge relates to Commissioner’s revocation of Jimmy as returning officer for the recently held Menyamya by-election in Morobe Province.

Menyamya by-election complied with law: Commissioner

He called on critics to refer to appropriate sections of Election Laws and the Constitution and fully understand them before misleading the public.

“The date on which the appointment of Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers takes effect is very clear in law,” stated the Commissioner.

“Under Section 21 of the Organic Law on Elections, a person appointed to be RO or ARO shall be deemed to have been appointed as from the date specified in, or if no such date is specified, as from the date of his appointment.”

EC plans supplementary elections for failed wards

Gamato said the Commission had successfully completed LLG elections for all other wards except for 90 LLG wards in eight provinces, which equates to only 1.40 percent of the total 6,385 wards in PNG.

The 90 failed wards were published in the National Gazette on 15 August 2019 with Gazette No. G675.

“After carefully assessing field reports from my officers in the provinces concerned, I have made my decision as Electoral Commissioner to fail the 90 wards for serious breaches of laws and regulations governing democratic elections in our country,” stated Gamato.

Kandep judicial recount to be in POM

Gamato explained that he has decided to move the recount for Kandep to Port Moresby due to security reasons, based on experience from the 2009 Kandep by-election and again in the 2016 Kandep judicial recount.

“To conduct the Kandep judicial recount anywhere in the Highlands is not safe as the counting venue is easily accessible by disgruntled supporters,” he stressed.

“The Electoral Commission wants a free and safe recount; therefore, I’m using my powers as Commissioner to move the Kandep Open ballot boxes to Port Moresby.”

Elections to proceed for Kandep Rural

In a previous statement, Gamato said due to unresolved legal issues surrounding the wards in Kandep Rural LLG, he would hold back the writs until when the matter is cleared by the Court.

But legal advice received today gave greenlight to the Commission to conduct elections for the 36 council wards.

LLG election nominations open today

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says all 20 provincial electoral officials nationwide will start accepting nominations starting at 4pm.

“Nomination fee is K200 and intending candidates are encouraged to call into any of the designated nomination venues in your respective provinces and districts to nominate and contest,” said Gamato.

“All nomination fees must be paid through any Bank South Pacific (BSP) outlet as no cash payments will be accepted for security reasons.”

Gamato welcomes court decision

The Supreme Court bench comprising of three judges unanimously ruled in favour of PNG Electoral Commission and its application to have the Supreme Court orders of 25 April 2019 set aside.

In welcoming the decision, Gamato said he would propose new dates for the LLG elections next week for the Minister for Inter-Government Relations to approve for gazettal.

State advises EC to proceed with LLG elections

“The department (through the Solicitor General) has advised that the order that was given by the Supreme Court was against the Electoral Commissioner however, the authority to issue the writ is vested by the organic law upon the Minister for Provincial and Local level Government Affairs,” Attorney General Manase said in Port Moresby.

“So last week Thursday, in accordance with the Constitutional process, Minister for Provincial Affairs, who is vested with the authority to issue the writ, had already issued the writ, and the writ is in force,” he added.

Simbu judicial recount nears conclusion

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato confirmed that as of Monday, 29 April, counting officials completed exclusion number 54.

“This leaves seven candidates still remaining in the contest, including petitioner and People’s National Congress Party candidate Noah Kool and sitting Governor Michael Dua of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party.”

Gamato said the extended deadline given by the Court to complete the recount is Sunday, 6 May, following delays after confrontations between supporters and a security firm in Goroka stopped counting.

Simbu recount set for today

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato confirmed that containers containing ballot boxes for the Simbu Provincial seat arrived in Goroka yesterday morning.

“The containers were successfully retrieved from Kundiawa after some minor resistance and were transported safely to Goroka in Eastern Highlands with the support of police mobile units from Mt. Hagen,” Gamato said.