ELECTORAL Commissioner Andrew Trawen said there is no new returning officer for the Kandep by-election.
“Poevare Torre is the returning officer. There is no new returning officer but an acting returning officer (Simon Sinai) while Mr Torre returns to Port Moresby for rejuvenation and returns,” Mr Trawen said in a statement last Friday.
He slammed the Post-Courier report last Friday that a new returning officer had been appointed, calling it “very bad journalism”.
The commissioner said he had held a joint media conference last Thursday with Police Commissioner Gari Baki, and stated clearly that he had given directions to Mr Torre to ensure polling in
Muyen, Tarapis and Sawi No 2 proceeded immediately.
Mr Trawen also brushed aside reports that the election manager for Wewak, Sale Bunat, had been appointed to go to Mt Hagen to assist ousted MP Don Polye and former provincial RO for Enga, Cleapas Roa, to go into the three troubled areas on a fact-finding mission to assess the situation there.
“Sale (Bunat) and Alphonse Yapen (election manager Vanimo) went to Wabag to check with officials on the ground on the real situation in Kandep, not to meet Don Polye or with a certain political party president.”
Meanwhile, Mr Trawen has rejected outright calls by Enga Governor Peter Ipatas for him to take the blame for the crimes that occurred during polling in Kandep last week.
He said the crimes that the Governor was referring to were committed by supporters of a few candidates and not by outsiders.