The National, Wednesday July 18th, 2012
By CLEMENT KAUPA
A CANDIDATE showed the media a signed writ for the Enga electorate of Kompiam-Ambum which purported to declare incumbent MP John Pundari as winner of the elections while counting is still in progress.Last night, Pundari, who is leading by a comfortable 14,537 votes, 10,000 votes ahead of his accuser Patrick Balone, declared that the entire story was a charade concocted to smear his name.
“I am totally and utterly surprised when I learnt that over the EMTV news.
“I was in a commanding lead right from the start. Why in the world would I go around fraudulently and corruptly trying to declare myself. In any case, I am now putting together a complaint to the police to have this matter investigated and criminally charge the people who deliberately, knowingly committed a criminal offence.”Balone, T.H.E party candidate, declared yesterday that security officers intercepted a vehicle which he alleged belonged to Pundari in which the signed writ was found.
This followed a shootout involving security forces officers and two vehicles on Sunday, Balone said.
Reportedly a bullet proof five-door Toyota Landcruiser carrying three assistant returning officers for Kompiam-Ambum was in the lead but suffered minor scratches while the second vehicle was disabled.
A search revealed the signed writ certificate. There were no casualties reported.
Calls put to the Government House to verify the governor-general’s signature went unanswered yesterday.
“The returning officer sees fit to preempt the winner of the Kompiam-Ambum seat,” Balone said.
Balone is now calling on the electoral commissioner, police commissioner and PNG Defence Force commander to investigate this offence and deal with the returning officer immediately.
Pundari said: “I can simply say that no vehicle of mine was involved in this incident. My vehicle was at home. I heard about the incident but it involved a vehicle hired by the Electoral Commission.
“I am going to get to the bottom of this and have appropriate authorities to take up immediate investigations. I want to know how my name got onto the writ and election officials have to give their side of the story.”Pundari said he was leading comfortably and was in no hurry to be declared so that he would rush into forming government.