Gamato considers Goroka or Jiwaka to conduct recount


ELECTORAL Commissioner Patilias Gamato is looking at conducting the recount for Chimbu provincial seat in Goroka or Jiwaka because of safety reasons.
He said this yesterday following security concerns raised by Police Commissioner Gari Baki, with respect to a decision by the commission to have recount done in Lae.
Baki said it would be risky to have ballot boxes transported down to Lae for the exercise.
He said he could not afford to risk the lives of police officers based on past experiences and asked the commission to conduct the recount in Kundiawa.
Gamato, however, told The National yesterday that the recount could not be done in Chimbu because it would be in breach of an existing court order.
“I heard what the police commissioner has said and his concerns on security in Chimbu,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the initial court order that was given by the national court stated that the counting should be done outside Chimbu.
“So if we go back to Chimbu, I’ll be in breach of the court order and that’s my only concern. I can revise the decision.
“Instead of having the recount in Lae, we can have it closer to Chimbu like in Jiwaka or in Goroka.
“All I’m asking now is for police to support us and perhaps we can conduct the recount outside of Chimbu, so it is in compliance with the initial court order.”
Gamato said because of obstruction caused by opposing parties, commission lawyers could go to the court and seek for an extension of time from the Feb 7 deadline.
The Waigani National Court on Nov 27 last year ordered a recount into the Chimbu provincial following a successful election petition filed by former governor Noah Kool against his successor Michael Dua.
Meanwhile, Dua said the call by Baki to have recount of the provincial seat done in Kundiawa “is a very decisive decision and a welcoming news for the people of Chimbu”.
“The police commissioner has made the right call that is in the best interest of the people of Chimbu,” he said.
“I commend him for his foresight in dealing with this situation.”