Governor denies contempt charge

National, Normal

The National, Monday 20th May 2013


JIWAKA Governor Dr William Tongamp and seven others have pleaded not guilty to contempt of court charges filed against them by his predecessor Jamie Maxtone-Graham.

Justice Allan David read out the charges when the case was heard at the Mt Hagen National Court last Friday.

Charged along with Tongamp are provincial police commander Supt Simon Nigi, election manager Sale Bunat, Fabian Tumu, Paul Kaman, Michael Gengi, Michael Pole and James Bomie.

Maxtone-Graham is accusing them of disobeying a National Court order of last Sept 12 to organise the transportation of ballot boxes from Banz town to Mt Hagen.

The ballot boxes kept in a 20-foot container at the premises of Waghi Klos in Banz town were burnt on Sept 21.

Dr Tongamp, Supt Nigi and Tumu pleaded not guilty to holding a 10-minute meeting at Waghi Klos before Tumu reportedly stoned a truck arriving to transport the ballot boxes on Sept 19.

Nigi denied that agents of Maxtone-Graham had approached him and Bunat to transport the ballot boxes to Mt Hagen, telling them that the petitioner would have to meet the cost of transport.

Kaman, Gengi, Pole and Bomie denied that drove around in a white vehicle without a number plate during the early hours of Sept 21 and threatened to shoot anyone near Waghi Klos. 

They also denied telling supporters of the petitioner keeping watch over the ballot papers to go home.

They also denied going into Waghi Klos at around 3.30am and burning the ballot papers.

Tongamp denied that his vehicle was seen about 20m near the Waghi Klos during the burning of the boxes. Supt Nigi pleaded not guilty to failing to engage police to protect the ballot papers.

They all denied having any part in the burning of the ballot boxes.

The case has been adjourned to May 23.