MP faces another hurdle

National, Normal

The National, Friday 12th April, 2013

 LABI Amaiu has won one of the two election petitions contesting the Port Moresby Northeast seat. 

Amaiu, who is also the Vice-Minister for Sports and Pacific Games, has one more hurdle to defeat.

Two separate petitions brought against him in the Court of Disputed Returns were by former MP Andrew Mald and runner-up John Kaupa.

Mald’s petition was dismissed yesterday during a ruling on competency by Justice George Manuhu after the petitioner failed to plead facts to demonstrate how election results were affected or likely affected.

Manuhu said the petition also failed because one of the two attesting witnesses’ accounts was incompetent as the witness did not reside within the electorate but was a resident of Gerehu Stage 4, which was in another electorate.

Mald had alleged illegal practices and errors, and omissions in the petition. 

The judge said the petitioner, who came third in the race, argued without figures to substantiate his allegations.

“The allegations were based on assumptions,” Manuhu said.

He said Amaiu had won the seat with 8,673 votes while runner-up John Kaupa settled for second spot with 8,642 votes in the Port Moresby Northeast seat in the National Capital District.

“Petitioner failed to plead appropriate facts that are likely to affect or have affected the result of elections and I dismissed the petition with costs,” Mahunu said. 

Meanwhile, Mald told his supporters after the court’s decision yesterday he would not give up but would seek advice from a lawyer if there were other grounds he could use to review the decision in the Supreme Court.

 “We failed on some grounds of the petition and, therefore we have to respect the court’s decision,” he told his supporters.