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Decision on open seat declaration date reserved

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By DAPHNE WANI
A decision was reserved by the National Court on Friday after hearing arguments by parties on the issue of conflicting dates of the declaration for Tewai-Siassi open seat in Morobe in the general election.
The case was filed by former MP and runner-up for the seat Mao Zeming in an originating summons seeking to review the decision of the electoral commission on the dates of the declaration.
Justice Collin Makail adjourned the case to the registry after hearing witnesses on Friday.
The electoral commission did not appear to assist the court on the issue of the declaration dates and the court proceeded to hear evidence.
The court was assisted by lawyer Brendan Lai representing  incumbent MP Dr Kobby Bomareo, who joined as the third respondent in the proceeding because of his interest in the case as the declared MP.
Dr Kobby told court that he received the message that he was declared on July 18 by the returning officer Ralph Raim and he travelled to Lae to sign the writ the next day.
Raim said there was no declaration made on July 18.
He said counting proceeded to the next day because there were four boxes left for counting when counting was suspended for security reasons on July 18.
The court also heard witness evidence from the acting assistant returning officer.
The issue that will be determined was the date of the declaration which Zeming claimed was July 18.
Dr Kobby suggested that the exact date of declaration was July 19.

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