Gamato apologises for mix-up

National

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has clarified yesterday that the returning officer who declared Nick Kuman as member-elect for Gumine open electorate in Chimbu and signed the writ was Freddy Yaun and not the late Peter Kalpa.
“I wish to convey my most sincere apologies to the immediate family, relatives and friends of the late Peter Kalpa who was my initially appointed and gazzetted returning officer for Gumine,” he said in a statement.
“It was in fact an error on the part of my officers who prepared my statement for the press conference in not confirming the correct name of the returning officer who declared Nick Kuman here in Port Moresby.
“I fully retract the statement mentioning my late returning officer and once again wholeheartedly apologise on behalf of PNGEC to the immediate family, relative and friends of the late Kalpa.”
The appointment of Yaun as the new returning officer was effective as of July 26.
On the same day the Electoral Commission revoked the appointment of Max Yomba, the former returning officer who wrongly and illegally declared Lucas Dawa Dekene in Kundiawa.
Meanwhile, families of the late Kalpe are now demanding K500,000 from the PNGEC for using his name to facilitate an alleged election fraud, Karamui-Nomane MP Geoffrey Kama said yesterday.
Kama who is also a relative to late Kalpe said that they were not happy that Kalpe’s name was used to declare Nick Kuman as the Gumine MP.
“Kalpe was a man who fought against such corrupt practices and it is very disrespectful for his name to be used to declare Kuman,” he said.
“If he was alive, he would have never thought of tarnishing his transparent reputation and honest hard.”
Kama said that the family was shocked to hear that late Kalpe had declared Kuman as the Gumine MP when he had already passed away in February.
“So we are now demanding the electoral commission to pay K500,000 compensation to us the relatives of the late RO.
“I think it is very serious because it is election fraud. The late RO died in February and I’m surprised to see that he signed the writ. How can he predict the winner and sign the writ before he died?”

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