The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013
By JAMES GUMUNO
SITTING Hagen Rural local level government councillors, including deputy governor Wai Rapa, have petitioned election manager Philip Telape to appoint a neutral assistant returning officer.
Councillors Timbi Doua, Wik Dokta, Jogn Wat, Kail Manga, Jim Kuri, Amos Paul, Paia Mek, Kara Mongi and Rapa demanded during a meeting with Telape yesterday that assistant returning officer Willie Ropa be replaced before vote counting started.
They claimed Ropa had not run the elections properly and was allegedly engaged in illegal activities like selling of ballot papers on the street.
Hagen Rural deputy president Amos Paul told Tale that before the polling started, Ropa sold him 100 council ballot papers and he bought them for K700 near ANZ Bank in Mt Hagen last month.
“During the polling, I didn’t put the ballot papers into the box because when I compare the signature of the presiding officer it was different from Ropa’s,” he said.
He said he still had the ballot papers with and would return them to Telape.
Paul said there was no proper polling in Hagen Rural, with the people concentrating on council seats and distributing president ballot papers evenly to candidates.
He said candidates took ballot papers to the presiding officers to sign and they dropped them in the box.
Kuri said during the second day of polling at Kelua, officials took the ballot papers into the house of a doctor and distributed presidential ballot papers to the candidates.
He said candidates with money bought the ballot papers that were signed by the presiding officer.
He said the presiding officer refused to sign 200 ballot papers for Rapa.