Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato

Gamato says no unnecessary spending for 2017 polls

That is the warning to all election officials from Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

“Under my watch, I want to ensure that we all change our attitudes, our approaches and our ways of doing election business and manage costs of delivering the elections in a more reasonable and effective way.

“I therefore charge every one of you Election Managers and Assistant Election Managers to manage and deliver the 2017 National and LLG elections in a more cost effective manner.

Final 2017 Common Roll update to be completed

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says he is expecting the final Electoral Roll to be completed and printed by the end of March 2017.

“I should expect all provinces to complete their field work by mid-December or before Christmas Day.

“The month of January should be used only for any flow-over but only for those big provinces. February should be the month for roll display and objections.”

Allowances to take up huge slice of election budget

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato is optimistic of a free and fair election, with an allocation of K400 million in the 2017 National Budget handed down by the Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch yesterday in Parliament.

He said more than 30,000 public servants will be engaged as temporary staff during the duration of the election, which is five months away.                

He added that K120 million will be spent on security alone. 

Gamato satisfied with electoral roll update

He said provinces that are well ahead include East New Britain, East Sepik, West New Britain, Milne Bay and Central.

“While these provinces are taking the lead in their enrolment activities, I strongly encourage others to follow suit by completely conducting their four levels of cascade training of returning officers, assistant returning officers, enrolment agents, ward enrolment committees and data processing officers,” Gamato said.

EC will not tolerate unapproved services

Commissioner Patilias Gamato says a pre-qualification tender was conducted in August and the list of service providers should be finalised soon so that the commissioner knows who they are dealing with.

“People have applied and we’ll finalise that and have that ready so come next election next year, we know exactly which people we are dealing with,” said Gamato.

The Electoral Commissioner has been flooded with claims of outstanding bills owed to service providers, some dating as far back as the last two general elections.

Trust account to assist election preparations

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says with the trust account, there will be continuous work during the end of year holidays.

Previously, all funds were remitted back to Treasury at the end of each year and then released again at the start of the new year.

“The signatories to the trust account are myself and the Secretary for Finance,” said Gamato. 

“We will be managing the trust account and reporting to Government, so the election funds will be there so we will continue to work during Christmas (and) New Year, and even conduct elections in 2017.”

Returning officers appointed for 2017 General Election

Gamato said the appointment of all the Returning Officers (ROs) and Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) have been confirmed on September 12, 2016.

“No new appoints for ROs and AROs will be made unless death occurs as in the case of RO for Finschaffen district in Morobe Province. A full listing of the ROs and AROs will be published in papers (media) soon,” he said.

Meanwhile, Central Province conducted training for its ROs, AROs and LLG supervisors this week at the Villa Karai Resort at Gaire village, outside Port Moresby.

PPC Kakas warns supporters not to disrupt Kandep recount

Enga Provincial Police Commander George Kakas says he already issued warning to candidates’ supporters that if they cause trouble, their candidates will be held responsible.

He said all ballot boxes are safe and in a container, where the lock will be cut, witnessed by the PNG Electoral Commission staff, Police, candidates and their scrutinizers, before counting proceeds.

PPC Kakas is confident his command will provide adequate security during the duration of the counting.

Delayed Kandep Open Seat recount to start

The counting was supposed to start earlier last week but was delayed because of a protest by the sitting MPs supporter and also unavailability of the PNG Electoral Commission lawyer in Wabag.  

 “The count will start definitely tomorrow,” Gamato told Loop PNG this afternoon.  

 He revealed that the Electoral Commissioner lawyer is on route to Wabag from Mt Hagen by road.

Resign before Oct 20 if you want to contest: Kali

That is the instruction from the Department of Personnel Management Secretary John Kali.   

“Writs will be issued on 20 April 2017 so public servants were advised to resign no later than 20 October 2016. They must give one month’s notice no later than 20 September 2016,” Secretary Kali told Loop PNG.  

Section 56 of the Public Services (Management) Act 2014, states that an officer who wishes to contest a national election must resign no less than six months to the date of the issue of writs, and for local level government elections, one month before.