Nepotism claims halt counting

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 11th, 2012

CANDIDATES for the Rabaul open seat have petitioned the PNG Electoral Commission to remove the returning officer and his assistant, alleging nepotism.
The candidates who signed the petition are William Kaputin, Skerry Palanga, Geoffrey Puipui, Bruce Alexander, Takele Tuna, Francis Magel, Raymond Paulias and Lawrence Titimur.
The candidates alleged that returning officer Aron Maramun and his assistant Tony Malana had employed their wives as counting
They maintained that it was nepotism which was against the Pubic Service regulation. To avoid any suspicion and doubt in the minds of candidates and supporters, they insist that the two officials be replaced by neutral people.
The candidates also claimed that there were no effective scrutiny in the counting of ballot boxes from the Kabiu local level government.
They said scrutineers could not examine the ballot papers.
The candidates believed that there was some foul play involved because the allocated serial numbers for the Baai village ward and other wards were changed.
Yesterday, the candidates demanded that counting be suspended until their complaints were addressed.
Maramun suspended counting at 4pm yesterday to deal with the allegations raised by the candidates.
Progressive results after count four: MP Dr Allan Marat is on 1,437, William Kaputin 996, Raymond Paulias 536 and Skerry Palangga on 487. The votes were from Matupit One, Two, Three, Four Ulamatis and Sunnybird.