Venues report hijacked ballot papers

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013

 BALLOT papers from two venues in Ward 6, West Taraka in Lae, were reported to be hijacked from polling officials.

Lae lord mayor James Khay claimed yesterday that polling papers at Gantom primary, polling box 47 and St Francis Technical Vocational School, polling box 48, West Taraka, were hijacked by a candidate.

“The candidate and his supporters held up polling officials, took away ballot papers, filled in the first choice box and returned the ballot papers to allow other people to fill in the second and third choice,” Kay, who is contesting his seat, said.

“Instead of allowing people to exercise freedom of choice, people were intimidated and that triggered violence among rival supporters.

“Both West Taraka and 2-Mile incidences occurred under the sun in front of policemen and polling officials. 

“I appeal to Lae Metropolitan commander Supt Iven Lakatani and provincial electoral commission manager Simon Sinai to allow police investigations into this,” Khay said.

Lakatani, however, said he was not aware of the incidents.

“I haven’t heard anything about hijacking of ballot papers, boxes and officials; otherwise at West Taraka, voters turned rowdy after allegations of double voting and polling ended early when police escorted the box out to be locked up,” Lakatani said.

“Police were purposely there to provide security and allegations of such is beyond police jurisdiction but could be raised in court to verify after establishing concrete evidence.”