The National – Monday, June 20, 2011
By JACOB POK
THE Waigani Supreme Court has again declared Dr Moses Manwau the legitimate winner of the Wewak Open seat in the 2007 national election.
A three-man bench of Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika, Justice Ambeng Kandakasi and Derek Hartshorn delivered the decision last Thursday.
Manwau took over as Wewak MP from Jim Simatab last year through an election petition challenge where the court ordered a recount of votes and declared Manwau the winner.
Simatab challenged the court’s decision under the slip rule application on the basis that the court had made errors in its decision and should correct those errors.
He asked the court to reverse its decision and find out whether it acted without jurisdiction.
Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen, PNG Electoral Commission and Martin Maingu, the returning officer for Wewak open electorate, were named as party supporting Simatab’s application while Manwau opposed the slip rule application.
The court had to apply the principles governing the slip rule application and the Supreme Court Act to establish whether it had acted without jurisdiction or caused any errors.
The three-man-bench affirmed there was no error and that they were satisfied that they were entitled to make the declaration of Manwau as the winner for the seat pursuant to the results of the recount of votes.
The judges were satisfied that the slip rule principles were followed and that there was no error in their decision.
They declared Manwau the legitimate winner of the Wewak open seat.
Outside court, a satisfied Manwau said justice had prevailed.
But he challenged the electoral commission to conduct elections properly and fairly.
He said the Electoral Commission must be transparent and must accomplish its aim for a free, far and honest election process in order to avoid such court battles.
He said he had been in and out of court for the past four-and-a-half-years when he should have been serving his people.
“This election petition is one of the long, turbulent and painful petitions.
“Now I have only six months to be in parliament before the next election and cannot not do much for my people in the electorate,” Manwau said.