Gumine saga continues

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THE Waigani National Court issued an order restraining MP-elect for Gumine open Nick Kuman from attending Parliament sitting and from making his declaration of office and of loyalty yesterday.
However, the order came after Kuman was attending the session yesterday.
Justice Colin Makail ruled that another candidate, also declared MP-elect for Gumine open, Dawa Lucas Dekena, should not participate in the Parliament proceedings because his writ was not before the Clerk of Parliament.
Dekena’s writ was brought to the court yesterday by his lawyer Greg Egan as evidence to support his case for the interim order to restrain Kuman.
Justice Makail said according to the evidence before the court, Dekena scored 13,870 votes and Kuman scored 13,849 votes, and the absolute majority was 13,861.
The court was told that Dekena was declared by the gazetted returning officer, Max Yomba, on July 28 at the Kundiawa counting centre.
The court was also told that another declaration was made on Monday in Port Moresby where Kuman was declared  by a returning officer known as Peter Kalpe.
Justice Makail said there was evidence before the court showing that Kalpe had passed away on Feb 3.
Justice Makail said that raised serious questions on the validity of Kuman’s declaration.
Egan told the court that the writ for Kuman that was given to the electoral commissioner on Monday was a forged writ because the original writ was signed by Dekena on July 28 when he was  declared.
Egan said the Constitutional rights for Dekena as the duly elected MP for Gumini were infringed because of the separate purported declaration of Kuman.
Kuman and Dekena both attended yesterday’s parliament session, Kuman fully participating in the declaration of office and loyalty and then voting for the speaker and prime minister. Dekena did not participate, he took a seat  but spent a lot of time looking at his mobile phone.
After the parliament session, Dekena said: “The system did not allow me to take my rightful place in parliament. I went through the election process. After counting, quality checks, verification, I was called upon to be declared. The writs given to Yomba was stolen. One of the security forces escaped with it and was got at a police roadblock at the border of Jiwaka and Western Highlands.
“I was declared at 9.30pm by the duly returning officer in the presence of the provincial election committee, the counting officers, and the public.
“I came to Port Moresby with the original writ and the returning officer to present the writ to the electoral commissioner. However, he did not accept it. He had already accepted the parliament-recognised Kuman’s writs which was signed by Peter Kalpe, the previous returning officer for Gumine, who had died back in February.”

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