Rigging claim not true, says Polye

National, Normal

FORMER Kandep MP Don Polye has slammed allegations by scrutineers in the vote counting in Goroka that election officials were deliberately selecting ballot boxes from his stronghold areas to give him an unfair advantage in the counting.
These allegations were raised by the scrutineers of candidates in the counting room, leading to a suspension of vote counting last Friday.
Counting has not resumed and time is running out.
The Electoral Commission has until Friday afternoon to return the writ for the Kandep by-election to the Head of State.
Mr Polye told The National yesterday what the scrutineers were alleging was not true.
“This is an absolute lie. The allegations are baseless and unfair on the part of the returning officer and election officials.
“From reports I have received, the counting officials have picked ballot boxes randomly from all four constituencies of the district.
“They have selected fairly from Mariant, Upper and Lower Wage and Lai.
“They have picked boxes from different polling areas considered stronghold for different candidates, not just one candidate as the scrutineers have alleged.
“As far as I am concerned, the progress so far has been even and fair,” Mr Polye said.
He said the insinuation that he was interfering and manipulating the counting was wrong.
Mr Polye said time was running out, and the candidates and their scrutineers should withdraw their complaints and allow the process to come to a conclusion so that a winner can be declared.
“The people have spoken. The mandate is in the ballot.
“The counting must be completed so a winner can be declared and we move on. Any further delay would cost the State more money, and Kandep cannot hold the country to ransom,” he said.
He said he would support whoever won the contest.
Mr Polye currently holds a comfortable lead (56%) in the vote count.