The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013
By ADRIAN MATHIAS
IN a bid to progress his 2012 election petition to trial, former Wabag MP Samuel Tei Abal told the National Court yesterday during a competency hearing there was no proper election conducted in his electorate.
Abal, who was represented by Greg Manda, told Justice Derek Hartshorn in the Court of Disputed Returns in Port Moresby yesterday that because of illegal practice and irregularities there were never fair, free and safe elections in Wabag, in particular several polling locations in Teremanda and Iralia villages.
“How the voting was done in Iralia and Terenmanda was now the issue before the court,” Manda told Hartshorn, while addressing the court on the grounds of the petition dispute between the first respondent MP Robert Ganim, and Abal.
Ganim, who was represented in court by Ian Molloy, filed an objection to competency to dismiss the petition because it was incompetent to proceed to trial, he claimed.
Molloy argued that pleadings on facts in relation to illegal practices comprising bribery and undue influences, irregularities and errors and omissions against Ganim and the Electoral Commission respectively, in the petition by Abal were too general and insufficient.
“Pleadings in the petition, in many respects, did not satisfy the requirements of the Organic Law and should be struck out,” Molloy said.
His arguments were backed by the Commission through its lawyer Himson Viogo saying the petition was clearly incompetent and should be dismissed.
Manda countered their arguments, saying the petition did plead relevant material facts and was specifically about what happened during polling in Iralia and Teremanda from 10am to 6pm for three days.
He submitted the objection to competency be dismissed to allow the petition to progress to trial so the merits of the petition could be properly argued.
Hartshorn reserved his ruling, saying he would rule on a date to be advised.