Some Election Petitions In PNG Thrown Out, Some Still Alive

By Tony Sii

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 12, 2017) – National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop and Moresby Northwest MP Sir Mekere Morauta are defending their recent election victories in the Waigani National Court of Disputed Returns.

They were among victors of the 2017 National Election whose wins had been challenged by losing candidates.

These election-related cases were among 12 that went before Justice Colin Makail for mainly direction hearing yesterday – cases that attracted an army of supporters and placing security at the court house at Waigani on high alert.

[PIR editor's note: On October 12, 2017 PNG Post-Courier reported that 'Stanley Liria has dropped his election petition against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. ... Yesterday, Mr Liria said this is due to the escalating law and order issues and violence, both within the Ialibu-Pangia electorate and Southern Highlands Province. ... This prompted Mr.Liria, a candidate to withdraw his court case against Mr.O’Neill.']

In Port Moresby unsuccessful NCD Regional candidates Andy Bawa and Michael Kandiu and Moresby Northwest runner-up Lohia Boe Samuel who took out three separate election petitions against the incumbent MPs – Mr Parkop and Sir Mekere – as first respondents and the PNG Electoral Commission as second respondent.

For the separate petitions brought against Mr Parkop by Mr Bawa and Mr Kandiu, the grounds were allegations of errors and omissions during counting, and they disputed the exclusion at count 35 when they – Mr Bawa and Mr Kandiu were excluded.

Mr Kandiu’s lawyer also told of allegations of illegal practice as one of the grounds of Mr Kandiu’s petition.

The petition by Mr Bawa was adjourned to December 1 for pre-trial conference and listing. Likewise Mr Kandiu’s petition was adjourned to December 4 after all parties file and serve affidavits on each other and meet other requirements.

Justice Makail also agreed to Mr Kandiu’s lawyer’s request to summon outgoing NCD metropolitan commander, Chief Superintendent Ben Turi, and another police officer, among the witnesses, to appear during trial. This was despite an objection by the Electoral Commission.

Among the documents the lawyer requested was the Electoral Roll for NCD Regional electorate, the tally sheet, official list of the 364 presiding officers and their respective polling locations, and the amalgamated form for the exclusion at count 35.

For Moresby Northwest, Mr Samuel is disputing Sir Mekere’s Northwest victory on grounds of allegations of errors and omissions, and irregularities of the counting process.

That matter was adjourned to November 27 at 9.30am for pre-trial conference.

Sir Mekere, addressing the media outside the courtroom, said that he had nothing to hide in the petition case against him.

The petitioner and the defendants are also to file and serve affidavits by or before November 1 and November 22 respectively.

And the Electoral Commission has been directed to provide the Electoral Roll for Moresby Northwest and tally sheet by October 30.

[PIR editor's note: On October 12, 2017 The National reported that 'Three MPs no longer have to worry about the election petitions filed against them after the court of disputed return discarded their cases. ... The three are Sumkar MP Chris Nangoi, Finschhafen MP Rainbo Paita and Kerema MP Richard Mendani. ... The case against Nangoi was withdrawn by the petitioner, Dr Arnold Amet. ... The case against Paita was withdrawn by petitioner Theodore Zurenuoc. ']

The National
Copyright © 2017 The National Online. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 3.4 (20 votes)

Add new comment