PNG election update: Voting starts

PNC campaigning ahead of the elections (PNC People’s National Congress/Facebook)

Prime Minister James Marape cast his vote at Tari Urban yesterday on the first day of polling in the PNH election, saying he was confident he would come home victorious. He repeated that he will resign as a member of Tari Pori Open if Pangu Party does not have the numbers to give him a full term in the office of the Prime Minister.

Over five million to vote

Over five million people are expected to cast their votes throughout the country this and next week in the 2022 polls.

The Electoral Commission has reported a generally good turnout of day one of polling today throughout the country.

Simon Sinai said apart from the Autonomous Region of Bouginaville, all provinces with scheduled polling days today started.

Morobe delays

Polling is expected to be delayed for rural areas of Morobe due to the delay in logistics reports the PNG Post Courier.

Morobe provincial returning officer Simon Soheke said most districts have received their training materials, ballot boxes and ballot papers transported to their respective districts already.

He believes polling will begin today (Tuesday )and Wednesday, and that schedules will be amended to ensure polling is completed within the timeframe.  

Man found with K1.56m in suitcase amid election

A man was held by Papua New Guinean security personnel in Hela Province on Saturday after he was found to have in his possession K1.56 million in cash carried in a suitcase.

The man, who police identified as a local, allegedly told security personnel that the money was “to fund the polling.”

However, when he was questioned further, he recanted his initial statement and said the cash was “for his company.”

Security sources said they were tipped off about the cash in the flight for Komo.

About 30 men disembarked and were searched by security personnel.

During the search, security personnel noticed the suspect clutching a suitcase as hand luggage.

When security personnel opened the suitcase, they found the bundles of cash in K50, K100 and K20 notes.

Meanwhile, PNG Prime Minister James Marape confirmed that his son, who was “in the vicinity”, has been detained and held in police custody for two nights while police investigations continue.

Marape told Post Courier: “My son was part of a security detail that was providing security to reporters who had travelled to Komo and the Hides Gas site… It is a company charter and for safety reasons, they run checks at the airport. Because my son was in the vicinity, the police rounded up all of them.”

Marape said that the money found in the suitcase does not belong to him and he does not need it to fund his election campaign.

“People are saying the money was meant to assist me. I can confirm that it is not my money. I do not need that money and I did not charter that flight,” he said.

PNG Police reported that the main suspect in the incident has been allegedly released without any charges laid. However, the cash is still being held by police as exhibit.