Kurap says he was not politically appointed


NEWLY appointed Southern Highlands election manager Jacob Kurap says he was not politically appointed as claimed by many because he applied for the position.
Kurap made the comment at an emergency meeting at the Mendi police station on Tuesday after a commotion broke out when Kurap forced open the gates to the administration building compound with a bolt cutter.
Assistance commissioner of police (Highlands divisional command western end) Chief Supt Mark Yangen, who chaired the meeting, provincial administrator Joe Kaiyo, deputy governor James Mali, LLG presidents, senior police officers, leaders from the two factions and other community leaders from Mendi were at the meeting.
The gate and electoral office locks were changed and locals manning the gate and electoral office said former election manager David Wakias was holding the keys.
Kurap said the matter came up since Oct 4 when the Electoral Commission appointed him the new election manager.
“I am a lawyer and later joined Telikom PNG and I applied for the election manager’s position when it was advertised in June 2014, Kurap said.
“I have all my documents here with me and I am ready to work with my returning officers, assistant returning officers whose names are gazetted as I am behind schedule.
“While other provinces have already updated their common role, Southern Highlands is falling behind and I want to work,” he said.
He said he asked for the keys to the electoral office several times but it fell on deaf ears.
“It is the Electoral Commission’s property and as the newly appointed election manager, I used force to break open the gates, as I am running late.
“I am from the province and I did not bring my tribesmen, I brought police because they are law enforcers and I have the right and my blood will be shed in the province,” he said.
Business Coalition Against Election Fraud chairman Garry Kulangil said there were frustration and chaos because Governor William Powi, Kurap and deputy election manager Grace Wong hail from Nipa-Kutubu district.

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