The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013
By ADRIAN MATHIAS
THE setting aside of 12 ballot boxes containing more than 9,000 votes of the Moresby North East electorate in National Capital District has affected the election results of the NCD regional seat, petitioner Michael Kandiu told the Court of Disputed Returns on Monday.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop’s lawyer Timwapa Dawidi countered and told Justice Stephen Kassman that Kandiu did not state in his petition whether the ballot boxes were for the NCD regional seat.
Dawidi said what was known was that the 12 ballot boxes belonged to the Moresby North East open electorate.
In his bid to stop his petition from being thrown out following an objection to competency application by Parkop, Kandiu’s lawyer William Korowi argued that the NCD regional seat election results were “well and truly” affected by the setting aside of the 12 ballot boxes.
Kandiu had alleged illegal practices of bribery and undue influence by Parkop and his agents, and errors and omissions by the Electoral Commission.
His lawyer told the court that the returning officer had failed to explain why the 12 boxes were set aside and the votes not counted.
Dawidi argued that Kandiu, one of the candidates in the NCD regional seat’s last election, had failed to state relevant elements of facts in his petition.
He said the petition did not comply with the procedures of filing under section 108 (e) of the Organic Law on National Elections.
He added that the filing process was important as it should be within 40 days from the date of declaration and other procedural requirements like attestation, a security deposit of K5,000 and the petition must be authenticated by the National Court registrar.
“Bribery allegations is a criminal offence and must be pleaded with elements of facts, which in this case, there were none,” Dawidi said.
The Electoral Commission also made a submission in court in support of Parkop’s application and asked the court to dismiss the petition because it was incompetent.
Kassman reserved his ruling on the objection to competency of the petition to the end of this month.