Election Petition Against PNG Governor Naru Dismissed

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Court finds Luther Wenge’s witnesses ‘fabricated’ testimonies

By Franco Nebas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 27, 2013) – In Papua New Guinea, the Lae National Court has dismissed the election petition against Governor Kelly Naru brought up by his predecessor Luther Wenge.

The court dismissed the petition yesterday, describing the petitioner’s evidence on bribery and undue influence as deliberate lies.

The court found that petitioner Wenge had failed to prove his case as required by law.

Mr. Wenge filed the petition against Governor Naru, citing bribery and undue influence against him and members of his campaign team.

Before a packed crowd and heavy police presence outside the Lae Court House, Justice Nicholas Kirriwom handed down the decision, dismissing all the allegations made against Governor Naru.

The court found that all witnesses called by petitioner Mr. Wenge had fabricated their stories and all their evidence were nothing but deliberate lies.

The court also recommended that all the petitioner’s witnesses should be investigated for possible perjury charges against them.

The witnesses include Timex Ango, Henry Heno, Simon Sakai, Moses Kami, Benny Okam, Simon Yalamu, Giob Tomis, Jerry Weko, Kaso Tanso and Solomon Sakai.

"For these reasons and those expressed in the judgment, I must find that the petitioner has not satisfied the onus of proof placed upon him in all his grounds in the petition and as such the petition must fail," Justice Kirriwom told the packed court room.

He dismissed the case and ordered petitioner Wenge to pay the respondent Naru’s costs.

"I further order that the security for cost deposited with the registrar shall be applied towards the costs for the respondents," Justice Kirriwom said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wenge told his supporters that they must respect the decision of the National Court.

"We have come to a court of law to seek justice and the decision has been made. Whether we agree to accept the decision of the National Court or not, it’s a matter that we will decide, so this is not the end of the matter," the former governor told his supporters.

"I want to tell my supporters that the war doesn’t stop here and it will continue on," Mr. Wenge said.

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