Cops nab five with K22,000

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POLICE detained five men and seized K22,000 which were believed to be used to bribe voters in Lae, Lae Metropolitan Commander Chief Superintendent Chris Kunyanban says.
“The five were in three vehicles entering a compound when we stopped them, conducted a search and seized the money,” he said.
“They were released after their mug-shots were taken.”
Kunyanban said the five were supporters of a General Election 2022 (GE22) candidate in Lae.
He said investigations were continuing and the suspects would be charged together with the candidate.
“The money and vehicles are with the police now, pending investigations,” he said.
“Since we are still in the polling period, we will delay arrests.
“The suspects are known, they will be called back for further questioning.” In another GE22-incident on Monday night, a group of men blocked a vehicle and started a fight.
“The suspects who started the fight have been arrested,” Kunyanban added.
In yet another GE22-related incident at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Indoor Stadium on Tuesday, supporters of two candidates in the Lae Open were turned away after they allegedly tried to temper the ballot papers stored there.
“If there are any issues that the supporters or scrutineers are unhappy with, they should do the right thing by taking the matter to court and not to take the matter into their own hands,” he said.
“The security personnel will remain at the stadium after polling and counting.
“We did not make any arrests because we were able to reason out with the suspects.

Ballots at Lae’s Igam burnt after complaints

Keeping watch … With the nation going to the polls for the General Election 2022 (GE22), Lae district residents had their say at the booths on Monday. Pictured is ballot box guard John Gesalic (right) assisting voters during the one-day polling on Monday. – Nationalpic by LARRY ANDREW

POLICE in Lae have brushed aside claims that the ballot papers that were burnt at Igam on Monday were done by voters.
“I was on the ground with the other security personnel, polling officials, scrutineers of candidates and the papers were burnt after consultation was sought from the election officials,” Lae metropolitan police commander Chris Kunyanban.
Kunyanban said a total of 300 ballot papers were burnt after people complained that in the last election they had more papers to cater for the voting population, but now, there were only 300 supplied which meant the majority would not vote.
“That is why after all parties agreed, the papers were burnt in front of the security personnel, polling officials, scrutineers after consulting with the returning officer,” he said.
He refuted claims that the public had hijacked the electoral process and had the ballot papers burned.
“This is not true, the burning of those papers was done with the consent of all parties involved and present at the polling site at Igam.”
He said as a result of that there was no voting at the Igam polling station on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kunyanban said police would now focus on the counting venues as polling in Lae is complete and headed to the count.
He said police personnel in Lae would also assist the provincial police command in escorting ballot boxes that were completed to counting venues in the district headquarters.

Security support needed in Eastern Highlands, says police

EASTERN Highlands will need security support going into their polls next week with coverage required for 662 polling areas, a police official says.
Assistant police commissioner for the Northern Command Peter Guinness said the current number on ground was not enough.
“We’d like to have two police officers at every polling site but we do not have that kind of manpower readily available to deploy,” he said.
Guinness said security personnel would be sourced from other commands to assist with the polling which would commence on Tuesday (July 12).
“We have a rolling team available now to go to Eastern Highlands to support; that’s 150 personnel from Lae metro command, another 50 from Madang, another 100 from Morobe command and National Capital District will also support with about 50,” he said.
“I’ve also asked police headquarters to deploy a platoon of soldiers into Eastern Highlands.
“Eastern Highlands will run for about a week; and when combined with Madang and Morobe, it’s a large area we will have to manage at once.”