Komai (Wake Wane)
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Date Posted: Sat, May 31 2008, 02:57:43pm
Ballot boxes were ‘hijacked’
A POLLING official for the Kandep Open electorate told the Court of Disputed Returns yesterday he saw a ballot box with ballot papers for one resthouse being swapped with another.
Gini Koko, a polling official assigned to cover the 2007 Kandep elections, said three ballot boxes had been hijacked by supporters of Don Polye and he was told not to follow the track where the boxes were taken.
Mr Koko told the court in Mt Hagen that voters from Kinduli, Laguni and Imapkaye resthouses told him not to follow the ballot boxes taken away allegedly by Mr Polye’s supporters.
He said despite the warning he went to Tirip rest house where ballot papers were allegedly ticked by presiding officers in favour of Mr Polye.
He said he was told by presiding officer Sakarias Kalo to go through the common roll for Tirip and identify names of males against females and leave the rest with him.
“While this was happening, I saw the ballot papers for Tirip were put on the side and ticked by a supporter of Mr Polye and signed by Mr Kalo,” he said.
He said he was not allowed to cross off the names of men and women he was asked to cross check, adding Mr Kalo wanted to do this himself.
He said this was happening inside Yasua Waro’s house and he also saw five other ballot boxes sitting there and all the presiding officers of those boxes.
Mr Koko said the boxes were for Tirip, Kanem, Tinili, Biapoli and Imapyaku.
Counsel for the petitioner Paul Mawa asked if the boxes were opened or closed. Mr Kokoe said all the boxes were opened when he went in.
He said the Imapyaku box was sitting idle while the others had their papers signed by the presiding officers.
“After that I saw someone pick up that box (Imapyaku) and there were unmarked ballot papers inside,” he said.
Mr Koko said after that a young man took the box outside of the house and he saw him tick the papers which were the presiding officers.
He identified the presiding officer as Luke Angat and as the Imapyaku papers were filled, they were then put into Andakoi’s box and taken away for counting.
He said out of the six ballot boxes, only five of them were filled and taken away while the Imapyaku box was left behind without any ballot papers in it.
In cross examination, lawyer assisting the respondent Paulus Dowa asked asked if the presiding officers, including Mr Koko, made any effort to register a complaint with the district returning officer of the hijack of ballot boxes,
Mr Koko said that they were busy at the time and did not register a complaint.
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