The National, Monday July 29th, 2013
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
THE recounting of votes for the Usino-Bundi seat in Morobe was held up last week after officials could not verify the serial numbers of boxes.
Petitioner Peter Yama has asked the court for the recount of votes on the seat won by Anton Yagama in the 2012 general election.
Yama was furious and told police to open the gates to the counting venue at the Jomba parish hall after finding that counting had not started.
The counting started around 2.30pm but some matters arose which needed sorting out by lawyers representing Yama, Yagama and the Electoral Commission.
Last Monday, the National Court confirmed that Yagama had filed for another application to have the recount stopped on the grounds that certain serial numbers of ballot boxes could not be verified as no records had been kept.
At Thursday’s briefing for electoral officials, lawyers representing the parties agreed that Steven Biko, the Usino Bundi returning officer, and James Apimia, who was not gazetted nor authorised to declare the failed election, would not have the correct serial numbers because they did not keep the records.
Yama insisted that the counting should commence as per the court order.
On Monday, when containers at the Jomba police station were opened, serial numbers could not be verified.
Lawyer Harvey Nii representing the EC argued that serial numbers be presented.
Last Thursday, Electoral Commissioner boss Andrew Trawen issued a directive for the counting to commence.