Waigani court orders safekeeping of disputed ballots

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 21st August, 2012

AN election petitioner from Chimbu has successfully sought temporary relief from the Waigani National Court to protect all disputed ballot papers from being destroyed or tampered with.
Losing candidate for the Karimui-Nomane electorate, Michael Korry, filed an urgent application against MP Mogerema Sigo Wei, alleging Sigo Wei had “attempted to destroy the ballot papers”.
Korry’s lawyer, Tony Yamarhai, said the alleged attempt to destroy ballot papers was the result of the election petition being filed.Justice Colin Makail yesterday issued orders that ballot boxes now kept at the Kundiawa police station be protected by the provincial police commander until the final determination of the election appeal.Makail ordered that the container with ballot boxes was to be welded shut, with Korry to meet the costs.
 “The cost of welding shall be borne by the petitioner and it should be done before the election manager and the returning officer on a time to be agreed by all parties,” Makail said.
Yamarhai said: “There were irregularities at a certain polling booth and the counting room.”
He said Korry lost to Sigo Wei by 77 votes.
Korry filed an election petition against Sigo Wei and the electoral commission on July 16, with a date of hearing still to be confirmed.There are now seven election petitions already registered including Korry’s.
The others included a challenge by former Manus governor Michael Sapau and Manus open member Job Pomat.Both former politicians had named returning officer Parkop Posangat as the first respondent.
Former Ambunti-Dreikikir MP Tony Aimo had filed a dispute against Ezekiel Anisi, Gabriel Kapris is disputing the win by John Simon for the Maprik open seat and lawyer Norbert Kubak had filed a petition against the win by Malakai Tabar for Gazelle open.
Former police commissioner Gari Baki had filed a challenge against Francis Marus for the Talasea open seat.