Trawen refutes claims

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday August 07th, 2012

ELECTORAL Commissioner Andrew Trawen has dismissed claims that two postal boxes for security officers in Momase and highlands were hijacked and destroyed.
He confirmed reports that the boxes were taken but said the ballot papers were counted and not destroyed.
A Correctional Services officer and scrutineers at the NCD regional and Moresby Northeast counting area had claimed more than 340 ballot papers had not reached Port Moresby when they were brought and transported to NCD for counting two weeks ago.
They claimed the two boxes were hijacked and destroyed by polling officials who colluded with candidates and certain policemen to corrupt the system. Trawen refuted the claim, saying the boxes containing the postal ballots were tallied at the Moresby South counting centre last week.
He said the ballots were for police personnel in the Moresby South electorate who were deployed in the highlands and Mamose regions for security operations during the elections.
The claim has triggered questions and complaints from scrutineers and candidates on the credibility of the elections operation.
A scrutineer, Aua Kini, of Moresby Northeast said Trawen’s decision to set aside ballot boxes and take legal measures was a wrong precedence set for future elections.
“The Northeast and NCD regional elections are failed elections. There was no logic to continue counting.
“Common sense should tell that there was a failed election and no need for court,” Kini said.
He said from experience, the Court of Disputed Returns cases take one or two years to eventuate and was costly for candidates.