Election Of PNG's Hela Province Governor Overturned

National Court declare Potape's election invalid

By Demas Tien

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, ) – The Waigani National Court has ruled that the election of Francis Potape as Hela governor by the provincial assembly last September was invalid.

Justice Colin Makail said deputy assembly clerk Filbert Tuya failed to serve a notice of the meeting on Sept 13 last year to four assembly members.

It denied their rights to participate in the meeting and also to vote on who was to be the governor, he said.

Potape was elected governor in that sitting.

Makail said the failure to serve the notice was a “gross breach of the election process” under Section 21 of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Government.

The four members of the assembly who were not served the notice were Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP Philip Undialu, Tari-Pori MP James Marape, Rev Olene Yawai and Charles Apalu.

“It follows that his election as governor must be declared void,” Makail said.

The case was filed by on Sept 14 last year by Undialu challenging the election process.

The judge said it was the third time the court had dealt with a dispute over the Hela governorship.

The National
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