EC insists on Lae for recount


THE Electoral Commission says its decision to have judicial recount for the Chimbu provincial seat conducted in Lae remains unchanged.
Deputy Commissioner Simon Sinai said it had already made financial commitment of K500,000 to service providers in Lae to facilitate the recount.
“The Electoral Commission has already committed about half-a-million kina to service providers in Lae,” he said.
“It’s impossible to recoup the funds and divert them for a new recount venue.”
Sinai said that Lae was selected as a neutral recount venue to avoid the escalating and ongoing law and order problems experienced in Chimbu after the National Court decision ordered a recount on Nov 27.
He said safety of commission officers and counting officials “is certainly not guaranteed if recount was held in Chimbu or in the neighbouring Highlands provinces”.
“The decision to recount in Lae is in the best interest of all parties to ensure safety and security is guaranteed, and that there’s fairness and neutrality in the recount process,” Sinai said.
“This is only a recount and we are committed to be open and transparent as much as possible.
“Interested parties should leave the commission (to) deliver its constitutional duty in conducting the recount. The commission in recent years had conducted judicial recounts for certain electorates in other provincial centres considered as neutral venues.
In 2010, recount for the Western Highlands provincial seat was conducted at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby.
In 2010, counting for Kandep Open by-election was conducted in Goroka. Recount for Gumine open was conducted in Lae in 2014.
Sinai said commission officers accompanied by police had made two failed attempts to retrieve ballot boxes in Kundiawa.
Sinai said that the first attempt was on Dec 24 and second one was on Jan 3.
“At the moment, PNGEC is waiting for police to advice on the security assessments as the situation has already become a security concern,” he said.