Marape’s son charged

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FIVE people, including the son of Prime Minister James Marape, have been arrested and charged with money laundering in connection with the K1.3 million bust in Komo, Hela.
Police, acting on a tip-off on Saturday, accosted the five men carrying K1.3m cash.
They were detained but released on Sunday night. Marape, who was in Hela to cast his vote during the one-day polling on Monday, said no one was above the law, including his family members.
He said the police should be allowed to do their job.
Provincial police commander Inspector Robin Bore said the five were arrested and detained at the Tari police station and later released on a K2,000 bail each.
“They were supposed to appear for first mention on Monday but because of the polling, the case was adjourned,” he said.
“The case and all the evidence, including the cash, have been handed over to the Investigation Task Force Unit from police headquarters who will be conducting the investigation (for the sake of) transparency.”
The five include a company director, Marape’s son, and three of their tribesmen.
Marape also said he did not know about the money nor was he connected in any way to the K1.3 million bust.

People in Hela protest, claim deprivation

Voting in progress … People queuing up to cast their votes at Papiali in Tari-Pori, Hela, on Monday. – Nationalpic by PETER WARI

A GROUP of around 30 people protested in front of the police station in Tari, Hela, yesterday, claiming that they were not allowed to vote in Tagali on Monday.
Provincial police commander Chief Inspector Robin Bore said the group wanted the seven ballot boxes brought in from Tagali on Monday to be declared “disputed”.
“They claimed that they were not given the opportunity to vote and demanded that the seven ballot boxes be (declared disputed),” he said.
“Why (did they) wait for 48 hours to raise this allegation?
“On Monday when polling was completed, the people of Tagali brought the boxes themselves and handed them to police to lock away for counting.
“So what changed in the past 48 hours?”
Bore said if there was “sufficient evidence, I would be happy to look into the allegations”.
He said nine people were arrested and detained at the Tari Police Station.
Bore said that apart from these two incidents polling in Hela, compared to past years, was fairly quiet and peaceful.
Tari-Pori Returning Officer Willie Kara said all the ballot boxes had been locked away.
“We are ready for counting,” he said.
“I have not received any reports of tampering with the boxes.”
Bore said that there were no other protests during polling.
The counting centre for the Hela regional seat and the Tari-Pori Open seat is being organised for the start of counting.
All the boxes will be brought to the centre before the counting begins.

Police to lead awareness on voting

AN awareness will be conducted in Mt Hagen on the importance and significance of electing good leaders to parliament, says Eastern End police commander Chief Superintendent Joseph Tondop.
He said police would be assisted by leaders of churches and the business community in Mt Hagen.
Tondop said the awareness was “better late than never” to educate the people on the polling process.
“People fail to realise that their votes are powerful which they should not ignore or waste,” he said.
“The awareness will be targeting the youths given the fact that they are the active population who can do anything and everything in this crucial time.”
Tondop said some people wanted to abuse the laws during the elections, thus the awareness was a good opportunity to bring everyone together to ensure a free, fair and safe process.
Meanwhile, provincial police commander Supt John Sagom said members of the joint security force had two response units present to ensure safety.
“We have the Quick Response Force and the Rapid Response Force on the ground to make sure polling is safe,” he said.

Three men killed in shooting at polling station, police confirm

POLICE in Hela have confirmed the death of three men after a shooting incident at a polling station in Yambaraka, Magarima, on Monday.
Acting Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector Robin Bore said the supporters of two candidates had a row over three ballot boxes in the polling area.
“The fight started when supporters of a candidate interrupted the polling and wanted to sign off the three ballot boxes,” he said.
“The supporters were armed.
“When told that the boxes would be signed off at the end of polling, the armed men open fired at the crowd.
“Two people were killed instantly.
“One was badly injured and died on Tuesday.
“Others were injured.”
It is alleged that there was no security personnel in the area when the shooting occurred.
The deaths brings the election-related violence and deaths toll to 31, according to media reports.
Additional security manpower was sent later in the afternoon.
Polling was completed, with ballot boxes sent back to Tari for counting.