THE PNG Electoral Commission says there are currently two lists of returning officers (ROs) being circulated.
Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai said he had exercised his powers under Section 18 and 19 of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Government elections on May 5 where a notice was published in the Gazette No G347 containing the official list of the names for all ROs for both open electorates and provinces.
However, Sinai said there was another Gazette outside the Commission containing a list of returning officers bearing the same description and was published the next day on May 6.
“That Gazette is false and misleading and was cooked up by persons with vested interest to cause confusion where it has included names of persons who have not been appointed by the Electoral Commission as ROs for certain electorates,” he said.
“These changes have basically been targeted at electorates in Southern Highlands, Enga and Western Highlands provinces.”
The returning officers appointed to these provinces by the Electoral Commission as per the gazette: Ronald Rambu (Ialibu-Pangia), Albert Wens (Kagua-Erave), Sebastine Kisambo (Mendi-Munihu), Felix Kundip (Nipa-Kutubu), Willie Ropa (Hagen Central), Henry Apakali (Kandep) and Kevin Yati (Wapenamanda).
Sinai said returning officers would take nominations on Wednesday and the process would end next Thursday.
He said nominations needed to be made to all gazetted ROs, adding that any done with individuals not appointed by the EC would not be accepted.
Traffic police warn candidates, supporters
EAST New Britain traffic police have warned candidates and their supporters to follow the traffic rules during the nomination period of the general election.
Officer-in-charge of Kokopo Traffic Chief Sergeant Albert Mapo said on Thursday that owners of trucks and buses (15 and 25-seater) needed to abide by traffic rules.
Mapo said overloaded vehicles carrying supporters of candidates were already breaching traffic rules and police would charge drivers and vehicle owners accordingly.
“Overloading of the vehicle is already a criminal offence and the maximum penalty is K1,000 fine,” he said.
“My appeal to the drivers, vehicle owners, candidates and supporters is to play your part to tell your voters not to overload vehicles when making nominations.”
Mapo said all drivers and passengers, candidates and supporters needed to be sober when at the venues to nominate.
He said police would arrest and charge anyone who was deemed drunk at these areas.
Mapo said there was a liquor ban in the province and he warned anyone producing, selling or consuming homebrewed alcohol to stop as this would only increase the chances of violent and disruptive behaviour during the election period.
He said traffic police personnel would start patrolling roads to check vehicles and ensure all road users were behaving responsibly.
200 reservists set to boost election operations in Northern
THE pre-election operation for security personnel in Northern was launched with about 200 community-based constable reservists set to boost manpower.
Northern police commander Senior Insp Ewai Segi said police in Northern expected the public to take ownership of the election and behave accordingly.
“As police, we don’t want any interruptions during the election process,” he said.
“We expect all residents of Popondetta town and the surrounding communities to act accordingly and avoid negative influences that are likely to disturb the electoral process.
“Following this launch, we will conduct another awareness again.
“We want the community to join police and we all can work together to deliver election.”
Meanwhile, Segi also urged the reservists to consider the importance of laws governing the election so they were not held accountable for wrong doings after the election.
“This is not for Northern police officers only but for all the officers throughout the country,” he said.
“The laws governing the election process are there, you just have to do what you are required to.
“Do not do anything that is outside of the election process law.”
Segi urged the policemen and women in the province to stand united and deliver a safe, fair and free election to the people.
“I want everyone to work together,” he said.
“I will be expecting more than the discipline that is required of us to deliver the safe, free and fair election for the people.
“Overall, we are ready to provide security in the province during the election.”