Official arrested for drink driving, fighting

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday July 22nd, 2013


THE returning officer for the Higaturu local level government, in the Sohe Open electorate, was arrested last Tuesday.

Newton Aruga has been charged with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol under the Motor Traffic Act and a count of inciting to fight under the Summary Offences Act.

Provincial police commander Jacob Singura said Aruga could face further charges for breaching electoral laws. 

This is because the first two charges were laid against Aruga before he became a suspect in hijacking ballot boxes from polling conducted from his LLG area. 

Snr Insp Singura said the returning officer was reported to have hijacked a ballot box for Team One Higaturu LLG president seat last Tuesday at a village along the Kokoda road in the company of another government employee who was allegedly intoxicated. 

They were supposed to have collected the ballot boxes from that polling booth from presiding officials.

The officer is alleged to have gone to the polling area and picked up the polling officials and ballot boxes but on their arrival they had behaved recklessly and attempted to fight with police personnel stationed in the polling area. 

The two men are alleged to have then driven off with the ballot box, leaving the other polling officials behind.

But quick police intervention saw Aruga and his accomplice stopped at another village where the ballot box was retrieved.