Yesterday the Provincial Police Commander for East New Britain, Chief Superintendent Joseph Tabali said three active Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers were in possession of Electoral Roll verification forms, Tally Forms, and a Candidate’s Poster. The soldiers will be handed over to Military Police today.
The 23 were apparently contracted by the National Alliance Party President and candidate for Namatanai, Walter Schnaubelt .
But the PPC added that no charges were being laid for the ex-PNGDF and that they will be released soon.
EMTV News spoke with Electoral Commission Media officer, Alphonse Muapi who said Kokopo Election Manager Joseph Voivoi had confirmed the 23 officers. They were in possession of a journal-like booklet which contained the electoral roll for Namatanai.
EC office also stated that the Electoral Roll was a public document but the Electoral Commissioner had not authorised to distribute to public and the Roll in possession was not an approved roll by the Electoral Commissioner, Patillias Gamato.
Meanwhile, the candidate for Namatanai, Walter Schnaubelt said in Media Statement that he was not involved in any illegal activity relating to the Election. He also stated that he believes police action in Kokopo was politically related as the ex-PNGDF are employed by his SOS security and no formal charges are being laid against them.
He also went on to say the two other active PNGDF officers were on leave break and had applied to work in his security firm as a driver and bodyguard.
Schnaubelt also accused PPC Tabali of not being truthful when he said that important documents belonging to the Electoral Commission had been found in this group.
The statements from the NA Party President are in contradiction to the Election Manager in Kokopo, Mr.Voivoi who confirmed the Electoral roll was confiscated from the current and former PNGDF officers.
The issue that is raised is how the Schnaubelt Team had gotten hold of the Namatanai Electoral Roll and if the act was illegal, what are the charges due?