The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
By JAMES GUMUNO
THE National Court in Minj, Jiwaka, has dismissed contempt charges against Governor Dr William Tongamp and seven others on Monday.
Justice Allan David dismissed seven charges against the eight men–Tongamp, Simon Nigi (deceased), Sali Bunat (deceased), Paul Kes Kaman, Fabian Tumu, Micheal Kenzie, Michael Kole and James Bombie.
The contempt proceeding was instituted by former Anglimp-South Waghi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham.
Maxtone-Graham, who came third in the race for the Jiwaka regional seat in last year’s general election, claimed the eight men breached a court order that he took out on Sept 12 last year at the Waigani National Court to protest the regional ballot papers before the serving of the election petition to Tongamp.
The court ordered the Jiwaka and Western Highlands police commanders not to allow anyone to destroy the ballot papers and the container containing the ballot papers must be properly welded and transported to the Kiminiga police barracks for safe keeping.
Maxtone-Graham claimed the eight men failed to protect the ballot papers and played a part in the burning down of the papers on September 21 last year at Banz Waghi Klos.
But the court found that all eight men were not served with the court order or were not aware of the orders except former Jiwaka provincial police commander Supt Nigi who died in a car crash in June.
The court found that Nigi was served an order but had not defied those orders as alleged.
The court found that all elements of the contempt charges could not be established by Maxtone-Graham and dismissed the case.
A separate arson case on the burning down of Jiwaka regional ballots against eight other people, including Kaman, instituted by police, was dismissed at the Mt Hagen district court early this month during the committal hearing.
Presiding magistrate Jeremaiah Singomat dismissed the case due to lack of evidence.
He ordered their bail money refunded and set all the accused free.