Court orders must be respected, says Dekena


A CANDIDATE contesting the Gumine open seat in Chimbu, Lucas Dekena, has filed an application in the National Court on Aug 1 following two declarations made by different returning officers.
On Aug 2, the National Court granted an order preventing the purported winner of the seat, Nick Kuman, from attending any session of Parliament and taking the oath as member-elect for Gumine until the matter before the National Court went to trial.
The court also directed that the order be served by email to the Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament and would take effect immediately.
Despite the order, Kuman took the oath and was sworn in as the MP-elect for Gumine by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia on Wednesday.
It is not clear whether the Clerk of Parliament had received the National Court order of Aug 2 not to proceed with  the swearing in.
According to a media statement, Dekena was shocked to learn that Gumine returning officer Max Yomba and his assistant returning officer Margaret Tokmun who had signed his declaration were arrested on Friday in Port Moresby.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the two electoral officials told Dekena that their clients were held overnight at Waigani Police Station then transferred in the morning to Boroko Police Station.
However, by midday on Saturday, police released the officials as no one from the Electoral Commission had turned up.

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