Potape: Declaration of Undialu illegal


OUTGOING Hela governor Francis Potape says the declaration of Philip Undialu as  governor-elect is illegal and the electoral commissioner should intervene to make a formal declaration of the duly elected governor.
Potape, in a media conference in Port Moresby on Wednesday, said he was the duly elected member after eliminating Dr Hamiya Hewali on Sunday but was denied a formal declaration by the provincial election manager.
“Final exclusion of the Hela regional count happened on Sunday, with the exclusion of the third placing candidate Hewali with 47,918 votes,” Potape said.
“After the distribution of final exclusion were done and counted for some hours, the final figures were tallied on the master tally board at around 3pm and the final figures were Francis Potape (Box 14) with 67,435 votes and Philip Undialu (Box 16) with 65,836 votes.
“When these figures were put up on the master tally board, counting was legally over and the election manager was called in to make the declaration.”
He said this was witnessed by his scrutineers,   counting officials and disciplinary forces.
“However, Hela election manager John Tipa came in with Rex Humbi, who called himself the returning officer, and some security forces  and ordered all the counting officials to move out of the counting room,” Potape said.
“After all the counting officials left, he handpicked the counting officials and  himself reopened the boxes and did the checks.
“This is illegal because counting was legally over and figures tallied already on the master tally board for declarations to be made.”
Potape said his scrutineers and the counting officials complained but were shut down by the security forces.
“I am calling on Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato to intervene before the writs are returned to the governor-general. Not in social media or in Port Moresby, but in Tari,” Potape said.

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