The National, Monday July 15th, 2013
By ZACHERY PER
FRUSTRATED service providers engaged by the Electoral Commission in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, have threatened to close down the provincial electoral office over the non-payment of outstanding claims for services during the general election.
Lillian Peri, a long-time service provider to the Electoral Commission, said they would not remove the locks until they had received their payments.
She claimed Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen had a “shopping list” and was selective on which service providers to pay.
“This covered some of the by-elections,” Peri said.
She said Trawen had asked for and received K15 million to pay all genuine outstanding service providers before the start of the local level government elections.
“We, the service providers, have no choice but to close down the EC office in Mt Hagen,” she said.
It was reported last week service providers in the Southern Highlands had closed the commission office in Mendi, with a similar situation in Jiwaka and Goroka, Eastern Highlands.
“I provided catering, accommodation and hire-car services to Electoral Commission officers during the judicial re-count in Western Highlands, the Kandep by-election and counting in Goroka but have not been paid,” Peri said.
“Since 2009, I travelled between Mt Hagen and Port Moresby more than 10 times incurring extra costs on accommodation, airfares and vehicle hire in Port Moresby.”
She said the usual excuse was that the Electoral Commission had no money, now that it had been given K15 million, the commissioner was going by his shopping list.