The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013
THE Madang National Court has ordered a recount of votes for the Usino-Bundi seat in Madang.
In a 22-page decision handed down yesterday, Justice Colin Makail upheld at least three of six arguments by former Usino-Bundi MP Samson Kuli, who disputed MP Anton Yagam’s election win in the court of disputed returns.
Makail also ordered that ballot box number 106055, the votes from which were not posted during counting last year, be excluded in the recount.
Kuli, who polled 6,160 votes, lost to Yagama, who polled 8,301 to win by a 2,141 margin.
He was aggrieved by the results as the disputed ballot box never had its tallies posted.
Makail, in summarising his findings after determining relevant facts before him, said he agreed with Kuli’s lawyer Ralph Dewede that due to the fact that there was a shortfall of 62 votes even after counting the disputed box and having them tallied, the figures still did not correspond with the returns.
Kuli initially sought to have that box included in the recount.
“The 62 are missing. We don’t know which candidate scored how much. Figures do not tally. I refuse the order to add numbers of box 106055 to be counted,” Makail said.
He also said the whole election process was tainted as there was heavy and frequent use of verbal abuse hurled by scrutineers at counting officials.
He said threats and intimidation was used, even death threats were issued, and that there was no police intervention during the entire time.
He noted also that the situation in the counting room during elimination round 37 and 38 was described as hostile and that returning officer, Steven Biko, “lost control” of the situation.