Case against Lagea goes to trial

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 29th May 2013

 THE National Court has ordered that the election petition filed by Daniel Tulapi for the Kagua-Erave seat against MP James Lagea proceed to a trial.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia ruled in Mendi that the bribery issue be taken up to trial while all other grounds brought up by Tulapi in the court of disputed returns be struck out.

Sir Salamo pointed that lawyers for both parties should be able to argue on whether Section 103 was limited to the bribery of electors or if it also included the bribery of electoral officials. 

The bribery case that the court has been dealing with in the past involved the bribery of voters. 

Sir Salamo said the bribery of electoral officers was a new situation that should require more consideration and determined as to whether it also came under Section 103 (a) (iii). 

He said it was now up to the parties to address the meaning of this provision at the trial. 

Sir Salamo said it was not difficult to deduce from the facts that the three electoral officers (Martin Yomo, Felix Bulupa and Mark Aiyapi) were among the officers who attended the gathering on June 22 last year and received K500 each from Lagea, were present and heard of the promise to pay them another K5,000 if he won the election, and were among the electoral officers who were paid K10,000 on July 19, 2012.