[> [> Subject: Re: 1st day of trial
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Date Posted: Sun, May 04 2008, 08:44:06am
This is interestingly the other side of the story on the first day of trial?
Petitioner denies hijacking boxes
By JACOB POK
THE petitioner challenging the election of Don Polye as Member for Kandep yesterday denied engaging his boys to hijack four ballot boxes during last year’s general elections.
It was alleged Alfred Manase got his boys to block the road at Komutin village on July 3 last year to hijack the boxes, but Mr Manase denied it.
Mr Manase, who was the runner-up in the election, is the first witness to stand with the petition now going to trial.
Denying the allegation, he said he was at Tinjipa village when he heard about the hijack and he went to Komutin that night and asked the hijackers to release the boxes.
He said they did release the boxes to polling officials and police, and the ballot boxes were in good condition.
Mr Manase was also asked whether he had any knowledge about his supporters removing two bridges and a culvert on the road leading towards his village.
He said he did not know or authorise such a thing.
He said the two bridges and culvert were still intact when he crossed it on July 3.
Mr Manase denied being armed with a bushknife and standing among people before polling day, although he conceded it was common for the Enga people in the villages to carry bush knives around.
He told the court that on July 3 he and other candidates like Jimson Sauk and James Tumbin staged a protest at the Kandep district office after the names of presiding officers were released without any names of the other polling officials.
He said when they demanded for the full list to be put out, the security personnel attacked Mr Tumbin.
He claimed that many of Polye’s supporters were reserve police in police uniform and were escorting the ballot boxes.
Mr Manase alleged that some of the reservists were teachers and locals and added he he was confused as to where they got their uniforms from.
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