PNG ELECTION OFFICIAL KAIULO FACES CORRUPTION CHARGES

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By Jim Baynes

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 17, 2002 - Courier-Mail/AAP)---Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commissioner was referred to the public prosecutor yesterday to face charges of corruption.

Commissioner Reuben Kaiulo, who presided over the country's most chaotic and violent election, is accused of trying "to convert state assets to a company he owned and controlled," Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno said.

Mr. Geno said Mr. Kaiulo had been referred to the public prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.

"The Ombudsman Commission has conducted an investigation, has granted Mr. Kaiulo a right to be heard, to which he responded, and having deliberated on the matter has determined there is a prima facie case that Mr. Kaiulo has been guilty of misconduct in office," Mr. Geno said.

"The matter relates to an alleged attempt by Mr. Kaiulo to convert state assets to a company he owned and controlled."

At least 30 died during the seven-week poll, which was hijacked in the Highlands by armed bandits who stole and destroyed more than 250 ballot boxes.

As a result, the 109-seat Parliament was forced to sit without six members from the strife-torn Southern Highlands, where supplementary polls are expected to be held later this year.

Mr. Kaiulo has been criticized for his conduct of the poll.

He was accused by outgoing Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta of conspiring with former Prime Minister Bill Skate to rig the result in one electorate.

The judiciary has also slammed Mr. Kaiulo's organization of the poll and his constant attempts to extend it. It was unclear whether those criticisms related to yesterday's referral.

For additional reports from The Courier-Mail, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia)

 

PNG ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER KAIULO STEPS ASIDE

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 19, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commissioner Reuben Kaiulo has announced that he will step aside while corruption allegations against him are assessed.

Commissioner Kaiulo is alleged to have converted a state asset to a private family company, but he says the allegations are old.

Mr. Kaiulo says he will take leave while the Public Prosecutor assesses the evidence against him and decides whether to proceed with a formal leadership tribunal.

The commissioner plans to meet Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare later today to explain his decision, and to outline the commission's plans in relation to failed elections in six seats in Southern Highlands province.

Mr. Kaiulo says he has been told it will take up to two weeks for the Public Prosecutor to decide whether or not to pursue the allegations.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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