Judge: Get to heart of matter

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday 18th September, 2012

ELECTIONS petitions judge administrator Justice Colin Makail has asked lawyers involved in such cases to co-operate to make sure the 101 election petitions are disposed off as soon as possible.
“Election petitions come every five years, let’s get it done.
“Sometimes we need to look at matters practically … forget the technicalities about issues,” he said in Port Moresby last Friday.
“We are not going to delay like other civil cases,” Makail said, adding he had now confirmed an election petition to go for trial in two weeks time.
“My role here is to get matters ready to be heard.”
Makail said everyone needed to work together to prepare matters for hearing, then conclude with a decision.
“The elected members should cooperate in the interests of our people out there.”
He said the seven million people of PNG could not be held at ransom just because one party was delaying the legal process by raising unjustified technical issues of competency in serving documents.
Makail also told lawyers that winning candidates were to accept petitions and not refuse them.
“If they refuse, they do so at their own peril,” he said.
Makail confirmed the dates for a pre-trial conference for an election petition filed by Gabriel Kapris, the former Maprik MP, challenging John Simon’s win.
Makail accepted after hearing evidence that Simon had been served the petition documents at his Malpa village, in Maprik, East Sepik, on Aug 27.
In related developments, Makail also accepted that a petition by Pastor Isaac Joseph on Mendi MP Dei Kewano, had been duly served.
Also accepted was the petition served to Koroba Lake-Kopiago MP Philip Undialu by losing candidate John Kekeno.
Former Sandaun governor and third runner-up for the Sandaun regional seat John Tekwie, also served a petition on Governor Amkat Mai last week at Jackson’s Airport to appear before court from Oct 6.
Another to be served a petition was Robert Atiyafa for the Henganofi electorate, Eastern Highlands.
Atiyafa is the parliamentarian who proposed a Private Member’s Bill to abolish all commissions of inquires and investigations, claiming they were a waste of time and resources.
He is being challenged by third runner-up Terry Kajona Okeva.
Also accepting petitions against their election victories last week were Morobe Governor Kelly Naru, who faces a challenge by former governor Luther Wenge, Parliament Speaker Theo Zurenuoc (Finschhafen), Public Service Minister Sir Puka Temu (Abau) and deputy speaker Aide Ganasi who won the South Fly seat.
Meanwhile runner-up in the Enga regional seat for the 2012 national election Sandy Talita has filed an election petition disputing the return of incumbent Peter Ipatas as Governor for Enga.
Talita said the process to dispute an election run is an important necessary legal consequences created by law to rectify compromises of the integrity of the electoral process.
 “The process has commenced. Our lawyers, Young & Williams, have filed the petition and service is pending. Parties should avail themselves to be served,” the petitioner said.