PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 2) - A Rigo open candidate has been arrested by police for spreading false rumors against another candidate.

Hume Maru, 46, from Saroa village, Rigo district, has been charged with two counts of spreading false reports and defamatory statements against former clerk of Parliament Ano Pala.

[PIR editor’s note: Rigo is one of five districts in Papua New Guinea’s Central Province, south of Morobe province, which also includes Port Moresby, the country’s capitol.]

Maru was alleged to have committed these offences in various Rigo villages during the campaign period.

According to police, there were two separate complaints lodged by the complainant, the first in early June and the second one when polling began last Saturday.

Central Province CID had attended to the first complaint, and was about to arrest the candidate when he absconded on the pretext of consulting his lawyer.

The latest complaint was attended by the NCD CID Task Force who arrested him and charged him on one count of spreading false statement.

The Central CID also slapped the candidate with another charge on the same offence but on a different occasion.

He will be remanded in custody until a bail amount is set for his release.

Meanwhile, polling for the Rigo electorate goes into its third day today. Other electorates of the Central Province, the Kairuku Hiri and Abau, which began last Saturday are progressing well.

Polling for the Goilala electorate is likely to start today because of the delay in transporting teams to the area.

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