MP forces open cell to find ballot papers

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013


USINO-Bundi MP Anton Yagama cut open the Walium police station cell block on Sunday in search for ballot papers he claimed had been hijacked in the 2012 general election.

Yagama had previously claimed that Krumbukari Landowners Association chairman Mathew Dengua and rural police commander Jacob Bando colluded with Madang businessman and petitioner Peter Yama and hijacked ballot boxes containing votes of the Usino-Bundi people.

He claimed the two men and Yama’s supporters hijacked ballot boxes during polling at Usino-Bundi.

Dengua said Yagama called him into his office at Walium and asked him to admit to the allegations.

But Dengua said he told Yagama that the allegations were serious and he would not have done such a thing.

Yagama reported the matter to Madang provincial police commander Sylvester Kalaut, calling for him to investigate Dengua and Bando.

A policeman at Walium, the Usino-Bundi district headquarters, said policemen on duty had asked Yagama to produce a court order to enter the cell block to access the ballot papers.

“We were outnumbered and could not do much but just stood and watched Yagama connect a grinding machine to one of the electricity switches nearby and ground the lock to the cell block and opened it,” a police officer, who requested anonymity, said. 

The officer said Yagama cut open the three ballot boxes in the cell and discovered they were old ballot papers from previous elections and a disputed one from Gunz in Gama LLG.

Yagama was contacted yesterday but he refused to comment.

Yama said Yagama’s actions were unbecoming of a political leader and demanded he be arrested and charged immediately.

Dengua and Yama laid complaints against Yagama yesterday for spreading rumours as no ballot boxes had been hijacked.

Dengua, who under his discretion as head of security at the Ramu nickel mine at Krumbukari in 2010, secured K20,000 to maintain Walium police station, and laid a complaint of wilful damage, unlawful entry and tampering with ballot boxes at Walium yesterday.