Patilias Gamato

Counting for H’lands Provinces nearing

Following the extraction of teams into remote Marawaka on Saturday preparations for counting are underway after polling in parts of Goroka.

Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato says some people have asked to extend polling however they cannot as he is satisfied polling has taken place.

In Southern Highlands, poling began on Saturday.

Some areas reported shortage of ballot papers and they include Kagua Rural (Part B), Ialib Urban (Part B) and Mendi Urban (Part B).

Task Force to spearhead voter registration

Addressing the media today in Port Moresby, Gamato announced the immediate plans to improve many discrepancies and problems related to the elections, particularly the electoral roll.

“Institute a Task Force with the primary responsibility of conducting a forensics assessment of voter roll,” he said.

“Take all necessary steps to initiate an active, continuous registration process under which all eligible voters, eligible citizens are legally obliged to make a claim for inclusion of their names under the electoral roll.”

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He says that information has to be varified by his office through appropriate authorities.

Sophie Yaruso reports 

​No extra ballots floating around

He said if such allegations are made then the commission must be notified to verify them.

Gamato said this in response to rumours, which surfaced at the beginning of polling, that extra ballot papers were in circulation.

“As far as I’m concerned, all ballot papers are intact, we only release them for each electorate and they go under police scrutiny and custody until they are released to be used in the polling places,” he said.

Gamato urges employers to allow staff to vote

Polling was deferred yesterday after electoral officials raised concerns over non-payment of their allowances.

Gamato highlighted that polling is an important process and a democratic right so employers must allow their workers to vote on Friday.

“In the past elections, people have gone out to vote and there have been some arrangements between themselves and their employers.

“With the deferral of polling, I think people can make adjustments again as it is only one day polling.

Gamato: There are enough funds for Highlands Region

Gamato told media that the funds were managed by Waigani because in the past, there was poor management at the provincial level. 

“A lot of expenditures were committed at the provincial level without control so there is some expenditure that we thought we would control from Waigani.

“We have also released some operational funds to the provinces to get them ready for polling and counting period.

“As far as we are concerned, we released enough funds to start them off with polling while at the same time managing the key expenditure areas,” Gamato said.

Gamato denies foul play

Gamato was referring to the money found in the possession of the NCD election manager, Terence Hetinu, during a search by police at a polling location.

Police searched the NCD election manager’s vehicle after he was apprehended and taken to the Boroko Police Station.

Gamato denied the claims and suspicions, stating that he was aware of the large sum of money transported by the Election Manager.

He clarified that the funds were received earlier this morning and the election manager was in possession of it to deliver to polling officials.

Polling in Highlands going well despite delay

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato confirmed in a media conference today that polling for Eastern Highlands Province commenced yesterday as scheduled.

However polling in Hela and Chimbu Province and some electorates in EHP were delayed.

Gamato says that the one-day polling in Simbu had to be deferred to sort out candidate grievances over the Electoral Roll.

Instead of polling in Hela on Monday, the day was spent addressing the issue of selected presiding officers disputed by a few candidates.

NCD candidates want Gamato to step down

The call is part of a nine-point petition presented to Gamato at 4 pm today just as a scheduled daily media conference was winding up.

Pangu NCD Candidate Noel Anjo, read the petition, on behalf of nine others to Gamato in front of the media before presenting it to him.

The petition states that: