Candidate out on bail

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ENGA police commander Supt George Kakas says Wabag Open candidate Milfred Wangatau charged with murder is out on a K6,000 court bail.
He said one of the bail conditions was for Wangatau to surrender his licensed gun which he did.
Kakas said an election campaign supporter was shot dead and another injured in a fight between Wangatau’s men and Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom’s supporters in Wabag.
Kakas said case would return to court next month.
Last Sunday night, Tom’s supporters were walking home after watching the State of Origin Game 2 in Wabag.
Kakas said they began chanting and causing disturbance near Wangatau’s house.
Exchanges of stones, punches and gun shots between the two factions led to one dead and another injured.
Kakas said parked his car in the midst of everything trying to diffuse the situation.
“I caught a stone on my chest, leaving a bruise, even three bullets whisked past me,” he said.
“Eventually, I managed to get reinforcements from the mobile squad.”
Kakas said that Wangatau after being released from custody, appealed to his supporters for peace as polling starts across the country next week.
Question on whether Wangatau would still be allowed to contest the general election, the provincial police commander said by law he was allowed to contest as the charges against him were yet to be proven in court.
“Only when a court of competent jurisdiction, which is the National Court, finds him guilty and convicts him, then he cannot contest,” he said.

Lack of services prompts woman to run for Gumine seat

RUN-down State assets and lack of public service in Chimbu’s Gumine has prompted Bernadette Bibi Olmi to contest the district seat in General Election 2022 (GE22).
Olmi, the only woman among more than 30 candidates, including incumbent Gumine MP Nick Kuman, vying for the seat, wanted to use her experiences in the public and private sectors to ensure political governance could be managed transparently to improve people’s lives.
From the Kibaku in Dirima village, the independent candidate was married to Amb Aiwa Olmi, a former ambassador and current chairman for Water PNG, who is also from Gumine.
She was the strength behind her husband’s prominence and success over the years.
“I have seen lack of public services in the district,” she said.
“We will take back Gumine and ensure public servants are operating in the district to service our people and not operating in settlements, guest houses in Kundiawa as this is the case now.” Olmi wanted to resuscitate deteriorating State assets, including state land in the district at the headquarters and the sub-stations in Omkolai and Karamaril.
“We will do proper physical planning on Government assets and build infrastructure like housing for all public servants,” she said.

Soheke urges Ombudsman to fast track process

MOROBE election manager Simon Soheke has urged the Ombudsman Commission to fast track the process to clear funds so election schedules can be implemented as planned.
Soheke said Morobe had sufficient money to conduct election activities, thanks to a K3 million allocation from its provincial government but it needed its state allocated funding to be released.
“Morobe is fortunate compared to other provinces that received little to no funding at all from their provincial governments,” he said.
“Our only issue for now is with OC through whom our cheques must go through for clearance; that’s the normal process and procedure to stop abuse of public funds.
“Our concern, however, is that they should fast track this process because election runs on a tight schedule that must not be delayed.”
Soheke thanked the Morobe government for increasing the election funding from K2 million in 2017 to K3 million for General Election 2022.
“Running the election is the responsibility of the Electoral Commission but the province has done a great thing to counter-fund; this money will go to cover all our shortfalls,” he said.

Probe into shooting continues

WHILE post-mortem for two men shot at Munum village outside Lae in a General Election 2022 (GE22)-related confrontation last month is complete, the final report may take time to compile, police say.
Morobe police commander Supt Jacob Singura said after much delay the post-mortem of the two men allegedly gunned down on May 26 following a confrontation between supporters of two political parties was completed.
Singura said according to the police crime investigation division officer in-charge, the medical report identified that the bodies had a pellet each.
“The pellets have been taken out and will be sent to Port Moresby for forensic ballistic test to determine which type of weapon was used to discharge them,” he said.
Singura said the other thing was to identify the actual weapon used to discharge the pellets.
“At this stage, we do not have access to that weapon but we know which type of weapon was responsible,” he said.
Singura said this may take a bit longer to further identify the weapon responsible and then send that weapon to Port Moresby again for forensic ballistic test to confirm the weapon was used at the time of shooting.
“That is why I am saying that the investigations into the shooting of the two men at Munum may take a bit long before it is completed to actually identify the suspects involved and then have them arrested and brought before the court.”
Morobe rural commander Chief Insp John Daviaga said police had not yet recovered the weapon that was used.
“This is another thing that police have to check properly and with the autopsy report, together with evidences collected, we have to form a concrete basis in order to press charge or charge someone police deemed as suspects to the crime,” he said.
Daviaga said with the polling coming up, this may also delay the compilation of the report.