PNG Electoral Commissioner Patalias Gamato said the reason for the delay with polling in NCD was due to outstanding payments owed to polling officials in the capital.
He said polling officials refused to start work and demanded payment of their allowances first before polling that caused disruption through the city this morning.
Electoral Commission intended to pay the polling officials today and differed the polling date to Friday 29th June 2017. Further confusion spread in the city after NCD police confiscated K184,300 in election polling allowances from NCD Election Manager, Mr Terence Hetinu after he was suspected by police for carrying cash without any security escort in Port Moresby this morning.
Apparently, polling in one part of the city went ahead on schedule before a decision was made later in the day for polling in NCD to be postponed to Friday. About a thousand ballot papers were confiscated and taken to Boroko Police Station under the watchful eyes of NCD Deputy Election Manager Ms Roselyn Tabogani and also assistant North East Electorate Returning Officer.
Mr Gamato appealed to people in NCD to remain calm and wait until Friday to cast their votes.
Electoral Commission Mr. Patilias Gamato confirmed during press conference this afternoon that all ballot papers and cash confiscated by police from Electoral Commission managers in Port Moresby were legal and part of the Commission’s internal operations.
Mr Gamato explained that K184,300 in cash confiscated and counted at Boroko Police Station were payments intended to pay polling officials working at various polling locations in NCD.
He also confirmed that over a thousand ballot papers used at a polling location in NCD was legal, however were confiscated and taken to Boroko Police station after the announcement of deferred elections for NCD was moved to Friday.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has called on the Government Printer Christine Lenturut to lift the standard of printing at the Government Printing Office to an international standard. He was responding to a statement by Lenturut this week that the printing of ballot papers for the 2017 national election could have been handled by the Government Printer instead of giving the job overseas.
“It is high time the Government Printer and the Government raise the standard of the printing of ballot papers.”
“If we think ballot papers are important, then there must be some standards set so that I can be comfortable to use the Government Printer to print the ballot papers,” Gamato said.
He urged Lenturut to get the Government to build the capacity of and capability of the Government Printing Office.
Mr. Gamato denied that the Government Printer had quoted K12 million to print 10 million ballot papers for the 2012 national general election.
“Their quotation was based on the 2012 general election ballot paper features. I gave them new security features in it. I asked them to quote on that one but they could not.”
“They wrote back to me after two weeks and said ‘they could not do it. The said that they cannot print these new features.”
Electoral Commission Papua New Guinea Alphonse Muapi Media Consultant January 23, 2017