Lawyer slams rise in nomination fees

National

By GEDION TIMOTHY
SENIOR lawyer Alois Jerewai says he stands ready to prosecute Chief Electoral Commissioner Patilus Gamato if he instructs his officials to effect the proposed increase in nomination fee for the general elections.
Jerewai, supported by former longtime Maprik MP and statesman Sir Pita Lus, told journalists in Port Moresby that changes to the nomination fee for the national and local level government elections was merely a National Executive Council decision but not law.
Jerewai said Gamato and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill could not afford to mislead the PNG people into believing that the increase in nomination fees for next year’s general elections to K10,000 from K1000 and the local level government council nomination to K1000 from K100 was law.
“The decision at best remains only a NEC decision and is yet to be made law,” he said.
“For such increase in the respective nomination fees, the applicable provision of the Constitution must be strictly followed to alter the provision of the Organic Law on National and the Local Level Government Elections.
“This is because the constitution requires any alteration to the constitution and other constitutional laws, including organic laws, to be strictly in accordance with Section 14 of the Constitution.”
Jerewai said Section 103 (2) of the constitution said that a candidate for election to the parliament must, among other things, “pay a nomination fee of K1000”.
“The nomination fee being a provision of the constitution, it can only be altered to K10,000 by alteration to Section 103 (2) strictly in compliance with Section 14 of the constitution,” he said.
Sir Pita said the imposition of the law suppressed the rights of the ordinary people to run for seats in the elections.

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