By MALUM NALU
 
ELECTORAL Commissioner Patilias Gamato says it will cost about K850,000 to count the five disputed ballot boxes for the Kandep Open seat in Enga, as ordered by the National Court on Monday.
He said the five boxes contained 3248 ballot papers were from the Lungutenges No 1 (479), Kombros No 1 (635), Kambia No 1 (520), Maru (772) and Imipiaka (842) polling stations. They were excluded by election officials from the counting process during the 2012 general election. 
Don Polye won the seat with 23,952 votes. Luke Alfred Manase, the petitioner, was second with 11,418 votes.
Gamato told The National last night that Polye was no longer the Kandep MP. A new declaration of the winner will be made after the counting of the five boxes.
Gamato said the K850,000 was the figure reached following a consultation with his management team, “in case the five boxes changed the absolute majority and we go into the elimination process”.
“It means we have to count all eliminations until we find the winner. Once we start counting the five boxes, we cannot stop and go back to ask the Government to give us (more) money,” he said.
“They have to make money available at the first instance so when we start, we flow. We may not use the full K850,000.”
He said figure included costs for the petitioner as ordered by court, plus the lawyer representing the commission.
Justice Joseph Yagi ordered on Monday to have the five boxes counted, as one of the four orders sought by Manase in the petition. Three were ruled in favour of Polye. 
Gamato said the five boxes would be brought from Wabag and the counting done at the commission headquarters in Waigani within the 30 days as ordered by the court.
Gamato will write to Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari and Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan to secure the funding.
In 2012, Polye was declared winner of the Kandep seat on primary votes because the total votes he polled after the last count reached the absolute majority required under the LPV system.
The total allowable ballot papers was 47,713 and the absolute majority was 23,858. 
Meanwhile, he said the commission had only received K600,000 out of the K2.5 million allocated for the Samarai-Murua by-election in Milne Bay.

Related Posts