2002 Commissioner Gamato praises judiciary

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has praised the National and Supreme courts for swiftly expediting the 2017 national election petitions. Only 79 election petitions were filed after the conclusion of the 2017 national election unlike in 2012 where 106 petitions were filed.

“I would like to acknowledge the National and Supreme courts for their support to PNGEC and the democratic election processing in dealing the petitions and I’m happy with the progress so far.”

“As of today (February 20, 2018), out of the 79 petitions filed 27 have been completed while 52 petitions remain to be dealt with by the courts.”

Mr. Gamato assured petitioners and voters that in election petition cases where the courts gave orders for PNGEC to act, the Commission acknowledges the court orders and will comply with them accordingly.

He said that PNGEC has already submitted separate budgets for the conduct of judicial recounts for Central Bougainville in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and North Fly in Western Province to the National Government for funding.

The Waigani National Court on January 30, 2018 ruled in favor of petitioner Sam Akoitai and ordered that a recount of ballot papers in primary count and all ballot papers in the elimination process up to and including the 19th (final) elimination.

The court ordered that a recount be conducted on or before March 5, 2018 and end on or before March 18, 2018.

Results of the recount will be presented to the Waigani National Court for ratification before March 23, 2018.

Pending the ratification of the recount, sitting MP Fr. Simon Dumarinu remains in office as the Member for Central Bougainville.

Total cost to conduct the Central Bougainville judicial recount is K1.3 million which will cater for allowances, meals, accommodation, transport, fuel, travel, advances and venue hire.

For North Fly, the court gave similar orders on February 9, 2018 for the judicial recount to be conducted and completed on or before April 16, 2018.

Results of the recount will be presented to the Waigani National Court for ratification on April 23, 2018.

Total cost for the North Fly judicial recount is estimated at K1.09 million.

Meanwhile, the Waigani National Court on January 30, 2018 had also ordered the movement of the container containing ballot papers for Southern Highlands Provincial Seat from where they are currently stored at Kimininga police barracks in Mt. Hagen, Western Highlands to Mendi, Southern Highlands.

“We (PNGEC) will comply with the court decision to move the SHP Provincial ballot papers from Mt. Hagen back to Mendi.”

“As reported in the media recently, the court only gave the orders to move the ballot papers from Mt. Hagen to Mendi.”

“The court never gave a specific date or ordered the movement of ballot papers within seven days,” Mr. Gamato said.

Media Consultant

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