Trio disqualified

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THREE candidates have been disqualified from contesting in General Election 2022 (GE22) because of their criminal records, Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai says.
“They are not eligible to contest in general elections as per the May 31 Supreme Court ruling that those convicted for a crime after June 25, 2002, are barred by law from contest,” he added.
Sinai confirmed that the Election Commission (EC) had notified the trio – James Yali, Ati Wobiro and Justin Parker – that they had been dropped from the GE22 list of candidates. He said the EC gave the three the notice on their non-eligibility on Thursday, the deadline for them to show proof that their court convictions and sentences were quashed by the Supreme Court.
Speaking on the NBC Government Talkback show on Thursday, he explained that it was the duty of the EC as the implementing body of general elections to implement the order handed down by the Supreme Court.
“Today (Thursday), we went to court and the court rejected one of their applications (James Yali’s), so as it is, there is an order being enforced that we need to implement,” he said.
“Those who received absolute pardon will still be able to contest in GE22, but those who have not, I have given them notice.”
The EC worked with the National and Supreme Court Registry’s Office along with the Public Prosecutor’s office, with the Registrar’s Office, releasing a few names of those who were on parole and those convicted.
Sinai noted that although lawyers had their own definition of convicts, his office had been given a list of four (candidates) from the Registry of Courts.
“So there were one or two of them who have been found on record of being on parole, with one given absolute pardon and another who is on parole or on complete parole meaning, he is still a convict,” said Sinai.
“I have written to them, telling them you are on record and are, therefore, ineligible to contest (in GE22).
“I was summoned to go to court (on Thursday) and the court rejected some of their applications, so those who got absolute pardon will now go ahead with GE22 but for those who did not, they have received their notice already.”
People’s National Congress candidate for Madang regional and former Madang governor Yali was jailed 12 years for rape, Independent candidate for Western regional Wobiro was jailed 14 years for conspiracy to defraud and People’s Movement for Change Parker was jailed 13 years for murder.
Under amendments made to Section 103(3b) of the Constitution, those with conviction are disqualified for life from contesting in general elections and from holding any public office.