Petition Opposing PNG Governor Juffa’s Election Dismissed

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Gary Juffa glad ‘ridiculous matter’ concluded in court

By Leslie Omaro

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 18, 2012) – An election petition brought against Northern Governor Gary Juffa by losing candidate Allan Mesa has been dismissed by the court.

Justice Bernard Sakora, who presided over the case in Popondetta last week, said it had no grounds.

The respondents in the case were Juffa, counting official Lidia Kamani, provincial returning officer Peter Malapiope and Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen and the commission.

Justice Sakora ordered that all five grounds of the petition "are struck out as being incompetent in their individual and collective failure to comply with the mandatory requisites of petition" as provided for under the organic law on national and local level government elections.

"The petition is dismissed in its entirety with cost," he said.

Justice Sakora ordered that the K5,000 [US$2,392] paid by Mesa when filing the petition be paid to Juffa and the Electoral Commission "in equal shares" to cover their costs of defending the case.

Juffa said afterwards that the matter had greatly disturbed his program to visit all districts, stations and rural outposts to assess the province.

He said he had to postpone and decline invitations from schools and churches and communities because of the court matter.

"I am now glad that this ridiculous matter has been dealt with and now Northern can continue with our plans to rebuild our province," he said.

"We are undertaking a massive process of review and assessment and the results are sobering. I have much to do and want to put this behind me and continue."

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