Returning officer in Nipa-Kutubu resigns

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The National, Wednesday 25th July, 2012

THE acting returning officer for Nipa-Kutubu, Ambopa Ekai, has resigned.
He took the action because “the Electoral Commission is not prepared to protect and safeguard me and my assistant returning officers”.
Ekai was appointed acting returning officer after the returning officer, John Harisol, was sacked for defying orders of the electoral commissioner. He said he only took over and took control of the quality check and the elimination process as directed by the provincial election manager.
Ekai said he had no interest in supporting any candidate but was unfairly accused of defying orders as reported in the media.“As the acting returning officer, I was carrying out my electoral duties to make sure polling and the counting process runs freely and fairly. But my name was tarnished in the media, accusing me of defying the electoral commissioner’s orders.”
He said the letter from Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen, dated July 20, 2012, was received on July 22 and he had no time to respond.He said he did not deliberately defy the orders but it was the delivery of the letter which caused the delay.“I feel that my life is at risk and also expect more election-related problems and do not want to be part of the problem as I was not responsible for defying the commissioner’s directives,” Ekai said.Meanwhile, counting is continuing with the final eliminations today and winner is expected to be declared today or tomorrow.PNC candidate Jeffery Komal was leading with 25,577 votes followed by Tony Kila on second spot with 20,688, Philemon Embel on 20, 019 and Steven Andayo 18,468.
Elimination for the regional seat started last night after the quality check was completed.