The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE election petition for the Jiwaka provincial seat will go to trial next month.
Justice Allan David struck out two of three grounds of the petition on errors, omission and illegal practices on Tuesday in Minj when he handed down his decision on the competency of the petition filed by the lawyer for second respondent Governor William Tongamp.
The election petition was filed by Jamie Maxtone-Graham, who came third in the Jiwaka provincial seat in last year’s general election and alleged illegal practices, errors and omissions during counting.
The former Anglimp-South Waghi MP claimed Tongamp was not duly elected and sought a recount.
Justice David said the first ground on the appointment of provincial returning officer Joseph Karap would go to trial.
He said all the allegations were too general and officials allegedly involved in the illegal practices were not named.
He struck all the other allegations and made the ruling after Tongamp’s lawyer had made an application in April for the court to strike out the petition on the basis that it was defective and did not follow Section 208 of the Organic Law on election petitions.
However, the court found the petitioner had followed the mandatory requirements.
Justice David told the parties that the trial be on Aug 15-16 at the Minj national court.
Outside the Minj court house, Tongamp commended his people for their patience and respect for the rule of law.
He said the contempt charges and other allegations in the petition had been dismissed except for one on the appointment of the provincial returning officer.