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PNG vote of no-confidence court reference adjourned
11:10 pm GMT+12, 07/02/2019, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Special Supreme Court reference by the Attorney General Davis Steven seeking legal interpretation on the constitutionality of the vote of no-confidence was adjourned to next month for further directions.
 
Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika sitting as a single man judge at Waigani endorsed consented orders by parties representing the Attorney General Davis Steven as the referrer.
 
Lawyer Tiffany Twivey representing  Steven told this newspaper that ‘there are no other parties as yet.’
 
“The only applications to intervene (essentially applications to join the proceedings) that have been filed are from the Speaker, the Clerk and Hon Patrick Pruaitch in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition.”
 
The court made orders by consent that the VONC Special Reference was adjourned to 8 March for further directions and for these applications to intervene to be heard.
 
The court also ordered that a related Special Reference being SCR 4 of 2018 concerning the Separation of Powers also be adjourned to 8 March for further directions and for any applications to intervene to be heard then.
 
Accordingly to court  the Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch had only filed in SCR 5 to intervene so the court made further Orders that Pruaicth has until 21 February to file any application to intervene in SCR 4.
 
Twivey has clarified that “all rumors that any Special Reference has been dismissed – including the VONC Special Reference are false. Both Special References are proceeding.”
 
Meanwhile, a PNG Court has ordered a by-election for the Goroka Open seat in the Eastern Highlands Province, thus declaring the judicial recount results as void.
 
Justice Les Gavara-Nanu ordered ‘the result of the court ordered recount which purportedly shows the first respondent Henry Ame as the winner is rejected.
 
“The court declines to declare the first respondent, Ame as the winner of the court ordered recount. The first respondent who was returned as Member for the Goroka Open electorate in the 2017, national election was as a consequence not duly elected.
 
“The result of my ruling is that the Goroka Open electorate will have no Member of Parliament as of today. ” He further ordered the Electoral Commission is to conduct the by-election for the Goroka Open electorate as soon as possible.
 
The Electoral Commission was ordered to pay the petitioner and the first respondent’s costs of and incidental to the court ordered recount and the incidental court hearings, which if not agreed, to be taxed.
 
Justice Gavara-Nanu in his ruling has found that the Electoral Commission has made a mistake in counting the 770 votes from the regional seat together with the results of the Goroka open seat during the court ordered recount.
 
The count found that the proper court ordered scrutiny process has not been followed resulting in the court rejecting to accept the results of the recount thus declaring the result as void.

Runner-up candidate in the 2017 election also the first respondent Bire Kimisopa has welcomed the decision on behalf of the people of Goroka Open.

He said it was never his intention to go to court as he ‘had expected the elections to be conducted free and fairly.
 
“It was never my intention to go to court that way. Now that it’s over hopefully we will get the people to go to polls and get the by-election going smoothly.
 
The people want a free and fair election. The electoral commission has the responsibility to conduct the election fairly and they have to exercise this responsibility.
 
We only go for polls once every five years and think about the number of candidates that have contested and the significant amount of money they have spent so far.
 
It’s  well excepted decision for me.
 
I speak on behalf of the people. They will welcome this decision and turn up for by-election, it’s their choice to choose whoever they want to represent them either me or Ame. It’s their decision.
 
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS


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