PNG Parliament to sit on 09 August, Enga writs turmoil

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The first meeting of the 11th Papua New Guinea Parliament is set for Tuesday, 09 August.

Parliament Clerk Kala Aufa announced this following the official gazettal notice for the extension of time and date of the meeting of the parliament.

Aufa has put out a notice to all members-elect requesting their attendance.

“The Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, by virtue of the powers conferred by Section 124 of the Constitution and Section 1 of the Organic Law on the Calling of Meetings of the Parliament, after consultation with the outgoing Prime Minister and Speaker and having extended the date of the return of writs for all electorates from Friday 29 July, 2022, to Friday 05 August, 2022, hereby fix 10 o’clock in the forenoon of Tuesday, 09 August , 2022, as the time and date on which the Parliament shall meet for the first time after the 2022 General Election,” the notice read.

“All members-elect are therefore requested to attend this meeting.”

Official notice for the order of the day for next Tuesday will be released by end of the week.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commissioner, Simon Sinai, has rejected the writ for Wapenamanda Open reinforcing his earlier decision and making the declaration invalid.

He said the rejection was due to the deliberate refusal by the Returning Officer Kevin Yati to comply with lawful written directions to count the ballot box for Tapend which is in Ward 28, Wapenamanda rural, Enga province.

This is the second declaration from Enga that Mr Sinai has refused because of non-compliance by a Returning Officer.

Sinai has confirmed that he did not accept the Wapenamanda Writ on Monday saying: “I have instructed the Returning Officer to give me a written response to why they did not count the Tapend ballot box.

“Once I get that response I will make a decision based on that letter.”

He rejected the declaration of Don Polye as member-elect for Kandep last week.

With the rejection of the two writs of Kandep and Wapenamanda, the Enga Regional Seat could be in limbo because the numbers would be brought down by the ballot boxes from both districts.

Pangu Pati candidate Miki Kaeok was declared winner of the Wapenamanda seat after he scored 29,256 votes, going past the absolute majority which was set at 25,973.

Sitting MP Rimbink Pato finished second with 22,692 votes while Danny Terep Katie finished third spot with 16,635 votes.

Last week, Sinai rejected the declaration of Mr Polye, citing section 19 (7) of the Organic Law after the Returning Officer breached lawful directives.

In the directive issued to Kandep Returning Officer Henry Apakali on July 26, Mr Sinai directed him to stop the counting of ballot boxes pending extraction and assessment on the integrity of the ballot boxes.

Apakali is said to have defied Mr Sinai’s directive to proceed with the counting and instead declared Polye as member-elect.

According to the circular from Mr Sinai to Apakali, his office had been advised that Apakali had not complied with the earlier July 19 directive to extract all ballot boxes for the electorate and transported them to the counting centre in Jiwaka Province.

The Kandep writ still has not been accepted and is under legal interpretation.

In relation to Wapenamanda, Mr Sinai said that two of his official letters directing the returning officer to count the last ballot box for the Tapend ward were refused because there was an existence of a fake letter stopping them from counting the box.

According to sources, counting began on 18 July and all boxes were counted except for the Tapend ballot box.

It is alleged this was due to police interference in the counting centre who directed that the Tapend box not be counted.

The Post-Courier understands that police officers do not have the power to make decisions affecting the counting process. They are only assigned to provide security.

On 31 Sunday July, Kaeok was declared after Yati’s alleged refusal to count the Tapend ballot box.

The second letter that allegedly was written by Sinai is not a letter from him, he said.

“You may think it’s a joke or fun to scan Commissioner’s official letters and circulate them on social media with a different version to the original letters and that is criminal and individuals caught can be arrested and charged under the Cyber Crime Act,” Sinai said.

“I have reported the matter and it is being investigated,” he said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS