Returning officer

MKA election officials dismissed after bribery claims

Returning Officer Terence Hetinu said police brought the counting official and a presiding officer to him to be questioned yesterday.

Hetinu said both denied that the money they received was bribery but were immediately dismissed from the counting venue.

“The counting officials are not to engage with candidates or campaign managers or supporters of a candidate in any way,” said the RO.

“They have breached that so I asked them to voluntarily leave the counting centre which they did, after a bit of resistance.

SHP returning officer summoned

The Waigani National Court today fixed dates for the two respective petitions that were filed by Pastor Bernard Kaku and Joseph Kobol disputing William Powi's election as Governor-elect.

The issue before court to determine surrounds Powi's declaration under special circumstances which was done by the Electoral Commission pursuant to section 175 of the Organic Law.

Former RO case remains at Waigaini

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar said the case will remain at Waigani after Police Prosecution asked the court to have the matter transferred to the Madang District court to undergo the committal court process, where the offenses are alleged to have taken place.

From the Tambul area of Western Highlands Province, Sinai and his lawyer appeared in court today for the first time since his arrest where the allegations against him were read and explained to him in court.

Court: Resume counting in Mt Hagen

The Waigani National Court on Tuesday afternoon ruled that counting must resume in Mt Hagen, and not Goroka, due to distance and the cost involved in moving ballot boxes as well as scrutineers of candidates from Mendi.

The court also ordered that all counting officials from Mendi must be used in the counting in Mt Hagen, as they already started the electoral process.  

Justice Collin Makail ordered that the newly appointed Returning Officer, Steven Gore Kaupa, who was appointed on August 9, resume counting today and proceed to a declaration soon.

Gamato comes clear on using deceased’s name

Gamato said it was misquotation on their part.

He said the Electoral Commission is now working on a media statement to correct the name of the returning officer and will retract his statement.

Gamato’s misquotation has however, resulted in a court order that is currently in place, preventing both Nick Kuman and Lukas Dekena from participating in parliament until the case is determined. 

Kandep RO to remain

The Waigani National Court on Tuesday evening refused an application by incumbent Kandep MP, Don Polye, to have Besawe replaced.

Polye's lawyer asked the court to order Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato to have the RO replaced after he did not proceed with counting on Monday, following the beefing up of police at the counting venue.

They also asked if orders can be issued for seven disputed ballot boxes to be counted.

The application was refused because the court said Polye's evidence was hearsay as he was not in the counting venue.

EC reinstates returning officer

This is due to the lack of evidence on the alleged allegations against him that transpired on social media about payments received from a candidate.

Returning officer, Thomas Rango, dismissed social media allegations about him receiving payment of any sort from any candidate contesting in the North-East electorate.

Rango was detained by police but was later released again this morning.

Review - This week in court

Despite this week seeing Supreme Court sittings held at Waigani, other lower courts were quiet.

Most cases in the National Court were deferred while in Port Morebsy, the District Court saw matters deferred to other dates on Tuesday and Friday, mainly due to the engagement of police prosecutors in the security operation for NCD polling.

In East New Britain, a grandfather was sentenced to 39 years in prison for the persistent sexual abuse of his two granddaughters by the Kokopo National Court.

​Daulo polls underway

Returning officer John Walker confirmed the commencement a while ago.

He told Loop PNG that despite several hiccups from the candidates and supporters, they will complete polling today.

Walker added that he had been informed of rumours of ballot papers being hijacked but is yet to confirm that.

The one-day polling was deferred from yesterday to today after candidates and supporters raised concerns on the issue of Electoral Roll updates and polling venues.

More update on TVWAN news tonight.

No disruption in Gulf

Returning Officer for Kerema Open Electorate, Ronney Havenggau, described to Loop PNG the atmosphere of the campaign period as being very peaceful since the start of the election process in April.

Havenggau confirms that the Electoral Commission office in Kerema Town has received its polling kits comprised mostly of the non-sensitive items.

Sensitive polling materials, like the ballot paper, ink rolls and candidate posters, will most likely arrive sometime next week.

Gulf Province has only two main electorates with a total of 151 wards.