PNG Electoral Commissioner Reassures Public That Port Moresby Polling Will Go Ahead

After chaotic postponement, Gamato appoints new officers to take charge of NCD polling

By Tony Sii

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 29, 2017) – Polling in the National Capital District will go ahead tomorrow after the sidelining of two election officials implicated in election-related fraud.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said yesterday he has appointed new officers to take charge of polling for the remainder of the National Election.

The highly publicised one-day polling in Port Moresby’s three open and the regional seats was postponed on Tuesday to tomorrow after a strike by polling staff for non-payment of allowances, coupled with the discovery of suspect documents and large sums of money on the NCD election manager and assistant election manager.

Mr Gamato said the changes were made in response to a petition he had received from NCD candidates.

He has appointed veteran officer Alwin Jimmy as NCD election manager and Bale Kavanamur as assistant election manager, replacing Terence Hetinu and Roslyn Tabogani respectively as well as a presiding officer who had money and ballot papers in their possession.

Mr Gamato said it was now a police matter and for the law to decide their fate.

“Because I want to restore confidence and trust so when you appoint new people with integrity and experience, I think they can manage this election together with other returning officers, assistant returning officers and polling officers’ work towards counting,” he said yesterday.

Police also said yesterday they are keen to interview a candidate who they believed may help in their investigations.

In another twist of events, police say that another candidate they want to interview on possible misuse of public funds had not made himself available for questioning since Tuesday.

Police had been investigating the candidate, who is contesting an Open seat in NCD, before the issue of writs following a
formal complaint.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki, who returned from the Highlands region last night, confirmed he has a report on these two candidates and has asked both to turn up at his office this morning for questioning.

In the absence of assurance of return to normalcy from irate candidates, uncertainty remains within the community though whether the election in NCD will proceed tomorrow.

PNG Post-Courier
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