Lack of acquittals disrupts counting

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 17th July, 2012

THE slow or non-acquittal of cash advances by returning officers and assistant returning officers in Madang province is having a ripple effect on other officers, a provincial official says.
This was a concern raised by the provincial election steering committee over the weekend after complaints from all six districts on the non-payment of allowances.
A letter by deputy provincial administrator Galun Kassas said K302,603 had been given as cash advances to the respective returning officers but no acquittals had been given so far.
He said a 14-day grace period had expired and the acquittals were “well overdue”.
“Due to non-compliance, Finance and Treasury will only release new cash advances to you upon acquittal of outstanding cash advances,” he said.
“Polling officials have fallen victims to the problem created and continue to be misled, disrupting the election process,” Kassas said in his letter.
He said most of the money given would have been more than adequate to settle election-related expenses, including allowances, but that was “just not happening”.
A listing by the Electoral Commission shows Middle Ramu returning officer Adolf Duangha got the biggest slice of money, K33,928, and which included expenses for roll displays in Simbai, Arabaka, Josephstaal and Kowon local level governments, with two payments totalling K4,780 as nomination advances and a further K2,200 for poll preparations.
Assistant returning officer for Naho Rawa, Dick Silandu is yet to acquit K6,980 for allowances paid for that LLG; Astrolabe Bay assistant returning officer Peter Onmangen has to answer for K14,243, Saidor assistant returning officer Barnabas Miukmang has yet to account for K5,410.
Naiudo assistant returning officer Melchior Asingima has to account for K38,272.
All these are in the Rai­coast area where there is confusion over who gets to eat meals after counting officials complained yesterday morning.
Others yet to acquit funds are: Sumkar returning officers Albert Ului – K3,480, Madang Urban James Apimia – K3,680; Bundi assistant returning officer Joe Yama – K19,850; assistant returning officer Almami in Bogia Gideon Mugagor – K32,104; assistant returning officer Usino Doling Gembo – K12,410; assistant returning officer Yawar in Bogia Chris Banak –  K29,437; assistant returning officer Gama LLG James Aiam – K3,590; returning officer Bundi Steven Biko – K8,752; assistant returning officer Raicoast Salonga Alagera – K28,200.
Other assistant returning officers yet to submit their acquittals are Iabu, Arabaka, Josephstaal, Kowon, Transgogol, Madang Urban, Bogia, Raicoast, Sumgilbar (risk allowances paid) – K13,600 and K6,810 paid to Tonny Kara for police officers escort allowances.