LAST Friday, the Supreme Court in Waigani declared the National Court ruling on the second recount over the Western Highlands provincial seat as “out of jurisdiction, irregular, unprecedented and therefore, unlawful”.
The Supreme Court sitting was just another part of the continued tussle for power between incumbent MP Tom Olga and Paias Wingti.
Last November, the Supreme Court set the date and venue for a second recount. Whoever received the highest number of votes was to be declared the winner.
The three-judge bench compromising of Justices Bernard Sakora, Nicholas Kirriwom and Panuel Mogish unanimously declared the National Court hearing of motions in Kimbe, on April 8 and its decision the following day on April 9, as unlawful.
Justice David Cannings had refused to declare Mr Olga, who had scored the highest votes of 140,958 at the second recount, as the “duly elected” MP.
He then allowed a further hearing on motions of issues alleging discrepancies during the second recount from Mr Wingti, who had scored 139,370 votes.
Justice Sakora said the court needed to make it quite clear from the outset, as to why they had been recalled by the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia as a one-judge bench, to reconvene
on this matter.
“We are here to ensure that our orders are complied with. We are not here to hear submissions from any of you because to entertain such would be legitimising it. In our view, what happened in Kimbe on April 8 and 9, 2010, was irregular, unprecedented and unlawful.
“The orders of this court, which was ceased this matter, were meant to be obeyed.
“In such a matter as this, the people in that electorate are the ones who suffer in the end,” Justice Kirriwom said.
The three judges invited comments from the lawyers of the parties and said the bench would sit today and make its final ruling.