PNG Electoral Commission is making necessary preparations and arrangements to conduct the court-ordered judicial recount for the Hela Provincial seat.
The National Court ordered a recount last week after upholding the election petition filed by runner-up Francis Potape on grounds of errors and omissions and illegal practice.
Justice Yagi in his ruling, based on evidence tendered in court, was satisfied that the petitioner (Potape) had successfully demonstrated that the result of the counting of Hela Provincial seat on 23 July 2017 had been subject to tampering or manipulation and therefore may have or did affect the result of the election.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says the Commission would need approximately K4.56 million to conduct the judicial recount.
The budget includes judicial recount costs, security, legal and costs ordered by Court.
“Hela is a challenging place and will require some security deployments.”
“The judicial recount will be done in Hela; however, if there are security threats, I may reconsider moving the counting to Mt Hagen.
The court has ordered the Electoral Commission to appoint a new impartial and neutral Returning Officer, Assistant Returning Officer, and counting officials to recount all the ballot papers for Hela Provincial electorate.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gamato has appointed the Election Manager for NCD Terence Hetinu as Returning Officer and Desmond Timiyaso, Election Manager for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) as Assistant Returning Officer.
“PNGEC is now running the 2019 LLG Elections and all other Election Managers have been engaged, with the exception of NCD and AROB, so I have appointed the Election Managers as RO and ARO respectively.”
Results of the recount results are to be provided to the court within seven (7) days of the completion of the recount for a declaration to be made in court.
“There are about 179,000 ballot papers and we will use the electronic verification system (EVS) to verify all the ballot papers during primary counts before the eliminations processes.”
The court has ordered that the recount be conducted within 30 days of order it issued on 28 June 2019.
“We (PNGEC) do not have much time left so we have to start immediately.”
“I have written to Secretary for Treasury and Finance to identify some funds and allocate to the PNGEC so that we can start the judicial recount as soon as possible.”
“If funds are secured, I expect the staff to be deployed over the weekend so that the judicial recount could start as early as Tuesday next week, 9 July 2019 in Tari.”
Source: PNG Electoral Commission Media Release