Kandep by-election presiding officer denies any wrongdoing

National, Normal

A PRESIDING officer who was arrested and locked up at the Goroka police station for allegedly destroying ballot papers in the recent Kandep by-election said he is seeking legal advice to sue police for wrongful arrest.
The officer, Joe Kaim, denied any wrongdoing, and said that he was picked up by two “alien” policemen at West Goroka on Nov 28.
“I was travelling in an Electoral Commission vehicle toward Goroka town when the two policemen, travelling in a hired vehicle, blocked us and asked for me.
“I went out and a personal guard of a candidate pointed a pistol at me and ordered me to get into their vehicle.
“They then brought me to the police station and charged me for allegedly signing and destroying ballot papers at Imapiak and Mambol polling places at Wage local level government areas.
“Then the policemen told me that it is serious case, which should be referred back to Wabag for further deliberation.
“They imposed a no-bail, no-fine condition on me and locked me up in the cell,” Mr Kaim said.
He said that Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Chief Supt Augustine Wampe ordered his release after checking out his story and ordered the arrest of the two alien policemen and ordered them to return to where they came from while the candidate’s personal guard escaped.
“The allegation that I hijacked and marked ballot papers is false, I did not do these things but was arrested and locked up by policemen acting in the interest of one particular candidate,” Mr Kaim claimed.