Kaupa petition dismissed

National, Normal

The National, Friday 19th April 2013

 THE second and final elections petition filed against  Moresby Northeast MP, Labi Amaiu, was ruled incompetent and dismissed by Justice Don Sawong yesterday.

The petition was ruled incompetent on grounds that it pleaded “alternative grounds” where such grounds are not allowed in disputes. 

The offending paragraph could also not be struck out because that would constitute an amendment to the petition which time had already lapsed.

John Kaupa, who lost by 14 votes, to Amaiu had disputed the elections calling for 12 ballot boxes set aside by the PNG Electoral Commission to be counted.

Andrew Mald, who lost the seat to Amaiu in last year’s elections, and runner-up John Kaupa, had filed separate petitions with the Court of Disputed Returns challenging the result.

Mald’s petition was dismissed last week during a ruling on competency by Justice George Manuhu in the Court of Disputed Returns in Port Moresby. 

The judge said Mald had failed to plead facts and demonstrate how the election results were affected or likely affected in his petition.

Manuhu said Mald’s petition also failed because one of the two attesting witnesses’ accounts was incompetent because the witness was a resident of Gerehu Stage 4 which was in another electorate.

Similarly, Kaupa’s petition was dismissed as being incompetent by Sawong after he upheld the objection to competency filed by the Electoral Commission, the second respondent in the proceedings.

Kaupa had alleged errors and omissions by the commission in marking the 12 ballot boxes that were subjected to scrutiny in Ward 6 in the electorate.

But Sawong ruled that the petition was incompetent because the grounds the petition set out did not plead material facts as required by the organic law on national and local level government elections, it contained alternative grounds or pleadings, which was not permissible and it did not plead relevant facts in support of the relief claimed.

Sawong also ordered Kaupa to pay Amaiu’s costs.

Amaiu won the seat with 8,673 votes with Kaupa second after collecting 8,642 votes.

Amaiu is the Vice Minister of Sports and Pacific Games.