PNG Candidates Allegedly Using State Vehicles During Elections

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Police report vehicle license plates being changed out

By Kessie Tadap

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 18, 2012) – The combined task force believes that some candidates are using government vehicles during the election campaign by changing the number plates.

Commander of the task force in the highlands Lt-Col. Ezekia Wenzel said from Mt Hagen last Friday that the government vehicles had number plates to show they were privately-owned.

He said the use of government vehicles during the campaign period had increased in the highlands.

Wenzel said his men were closely monitoring the illegal activity.

He said they were also monitoring the smuggling of arms and ammunitions along the highlands highway.

Task force officers have been given the authority to set up road blocks and conduct random checks on vehicles.

He said while this would cause some inconvenience to members of the public, it was necessary to ensure public safety and security during the election period.

Wenzel was responding to a complaint by a candidate whose vehicle was confiscated by police last Tuesday while he was on his way to a campaign rally.

While apologizing to the candidate for the misunderstanding, his officers had been instructed not to take any chances and search vehicles randomly because of high threat of violence and arms smuggling in the region.

Wenzel also said an American-made pistol was confiscated from the residence of a candidate during a raid last week.

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