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Port Moresby
January 29, 2020

Election Officials Stop Counting Over Unpaid Allowances

Electoral officials in Lae boycotted counting this morning in protest over unpaid allowances owed tothem bythe Lae Electoral Commission.


It comes at a crucial time whenthe counting is reaching its final stages with four ballot boxes remaining inthe Lord Mayor count.

The officers saythey had peacefully boycotted counting since eight o’clock inthe morning whilst waiting for a response fromthe Lae Electoral Commission Manager, Simon Sinai.


“We are not going to start counting until payment owed to us is made,” said Margaret Iamo, one of those protesting. We are also mthers doing this work using our time to be with family and none of us are Public servants”.


TheReturning Officer, Asigau Tau, said that he couldn’t do much for the officers but he has calledthe Lae Electoral Commission Office on behalf ofthe officers.


Meanwhile,the Lae Election Manager, Simon Sinai met withthe disgruntled officers this morning askingthem to resume counting.


“You all will get paid but I cannot promise you when,” said The Electoral Commission Manager, Simon Sinai. “It could be this week or next week but it won’t be today.

Candidate Scrutineers have requested for counting to resume andthey have also called for payments to be made quickly.


Because of similar incidents inthe pastothose involved in elections are sceptical ofthe government’s ability to pay allowances.   Bet Simon Sinai has trlied to dispel those doubts.


“I assure you all thatthe money isthere inthe accounts but I am waiting for proper documentations to be finalized before I make payments”, said Sinai.

Meanwhile,the counting officers have agreed to continue today onthe guarantee thatthey will be paid inthe next few days.


Pictured: Lae Electoral Commission Manager, Simon Sinai addressing election officials.


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