By TREVOR WAHUNE
Deputy electoral commissioner Simon Sinai has been charged with false declaration, perjury and official corruption in relation to a Madang by-election in 2013.
He was arrested at the electoral commission headquarters in Port Moresby yesterday by the fraud and anti-corruption squad.
National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) director Mathew Damaru confirmed the arrest, saying Sinai was an election manager based in Lae, Morobe when he was appointed returning officer in 2013 for the recount of the Madang open seat when he allegedly committed the offences.
Damaru said the complainant in the matter was current Madang Governor Peter Yama, who was then a candidate in the Madang open seat by-election.
“He challenged Nixon Duban’s win through the court of disputed returns.
The court ruled in his favour and ordered a recount with the following orders;
- All votes were to be recounted, including votes from 6116 ballot papers discovered at the Madang Cemetery; and,
- The recount to be conducted both electronically and manually.
“It is alleged that Sinai, after counting the primary votes, directed IT officers to pack the electronic counting machine and send it to Port Moresby,” Damaru said.
“It is further alleged that Sinai manipulated the results of the votes counted manually.”
Sinai and the Assistant Registrar of the National Court then provided the report to the court. Based on the report, Duban was declared winner by the court with 15,002 votes over Peter Yama with 13,557 votes.
“However, scrutinisers and policemen who provided security at the counting venue advised Yama that the results provided to the national court were misleading and the actual results should have been Peter Yama 16,654 votes and Nixon Duban 15,002 votes.”
Damaru said based on that information, Yama filed a complaint with the electoral commissioner and the NFACD.
He said investigations by National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate confirmed the results as Yama’s votes – 16,654 and Duban’s 15,002.
“During the record of interview at NFACD he also confirmed the results.”
“For the charge of official corruption, he was arrested on a warrant of arrest. He was taken to the Boroko Police Station cells (yesterday) to be locked up after completing the arrest procedures.