Eighty dispute poll wins

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 7th September, 2012

THE Court of Disputed Returns has received a total of 80 petitions as of yesterday afternoon with all provinces, except Bougainville, represented.
Associate judge to administer election petitions Charlie Williams said the latest petition, filed on Wednesday, was by Joseph Kobol, a losing candidate for the Southern Highlands provincial seat.
Kobol is challenging the win by William Powi, a former Southern Highlands provincial administrator.
Also among the 80 petitions, a losing female candidate for the Central provincial seat, Philomena Kassman, is disputing businessman Kila Haoda’s victory.
Election petition rules, developed by judges in 2002, state that an election petition can be filed within 40 days after the declaration of a member of parliament, and the petitioner is responsible for serving documents to the respondent within 14 days after filing.
It became evident this week that four petitioners have had difficulties with serving notices on two declared members who refused to accept them.
Simon Solo, the former West Sepik governor, went before Justice Colin Makail yesterday over his successor Amkat Mai’s refusal to accept service.
The court was told the petitioner, Solo, had produced documents before the first respondent, Mai, on several occasions.
“Solo had gone out of his own way to serve documents in a genuine and mature manner,” Makail said.
And with the time limitation expiring yesterday, Makail approved an additional seven days for Solo to serve the documents on Mai.
Makail had also extended time for losing Hela provincial candidate Alfred Kaiabe, who is challenging the win by Anderson Agiru.
“It is difficult when the declared member has gone into hiding,” Kaiabe told the court.But Makail said: “The onus is on you, as the petitioner, to go looking for him.
“If it means climbing Mt Everest, go for it.
“If you are unsuccessful, put it in your evidence and I will give you an alternate order,” Makail said.
Makail had also ordered a two-week extension for losing Koroba-Lake Kopiago candidate John Kelewa to serve documents on declared member Philip Undiali and also to publish them.
But with the documents totalling 70 pages, cost of publication was now a concern for Kelewa’s lawyer.
This week, Makail also ordered the election petition against Treasurer Don Polye to be published in The National and the other local paper.
Polye had been ordered to meet the cost of publishing the advertisement.
The court was told that petitioner Luke Alfred Manase had been unable to serve the documents.