The National, Friday July 19th, 2013
By GABRIEL FITO
Aitape-Lumi district in West Sepik reported election trouble on Tuesday when a ballot box containing marked ballot papers for the Monkai council ward was opened and the contents tipped into a river.
Provincial returning officer Martin Anska said scrutineers of candidates seized the box when polling officials sought shelter from rain after completing voting in a part of the village and were crossing to the other end of the village to finish polling.
“The scrutineers opened the box, tore all the marked ballots and threw them into river,” Anska claimed.
“There was no trace of these papers and I have advised the team to skip this village and continue polling and come back when all other wards in the West Wape LLG are completed.”
Anska said police on election duty at Aitape were aware of the incident and were investigating.
Anska said beside this isolated incident, polling in the province was progressing well, with more than 50 ward councillors from Aitape-Lumi, Nuku and Vanimo Green already declared.
“In the 93 wards of Aitape-Lumi 22 councillors have been declared.
In Nuku another 22 council wards had been declared from from a total of 84, while 13 declarations for Vanimo Green out of the 100 wards came from Vanimo urban, with three and 10 from Bewani and Utong Onei LLGs.
“I have yet to receive updates from Telefomin district due to communication problem,” Anska said.
“I have the same problem with Amanab, Green River and Walsa LLGs of Vanimo Green district.”