THE counting of Bulolo ballot papers has been deferred to tomorrow until all the counting officials have been paid their election allowances.
Officials on ground say Bulolo returning officer Raune Jombart held a three hour briefing with all the scrutineers at St Peter's Pastoral Centre in Bulolo and deferred the counting then rushed down to Lae to follow up on the allowances of the counting officials.
Meantime, PNG Defence Force soldiers from the Engineering Battalion based at Igam Barracks in Lae arrived in Bulolo yesterday to beef up the local security personnel manpower on the ground to provide security to the counting officials the during counting period this week.
The soldiers and the policemen were deployed at the St Peter's Pastoral Centre this morning to provide security to the election manager and all the scrutineers during the briefing this morning.
Officials say there is enough security manpower on the ground but there is no allowance available to pay the counting officials.
A counting official also said that they have not been paid their allowances for polling and counting and would boycott the counting until all their allowances are paid this week.
A policeman also complained of the reduction in their allowance of K200 per day and said some of them will also boycott the counting over the underpayment of their allowances which is K100 per day.
He says they should be paid K200 per day allowance as stipulated by the Electoral Commission to provide security to the counting officials at the centre.
They held a meeting over the weekend and many agreed to boycott the counting until the returning officer sort out our outstanding election allowance issues.
Meanwhile, many scrutineers also demand the returning officer Raune Jombart to sort out the counting officials’ allowances issues and order the counting to start early this week without further delay.
Officials say hopes are high counting begins tomorrow.