Vote buying is expected in PNG: Sinai

Simon Sinai. PHOTO: PINA

Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai has told media that vote buying and other corruption related offences are expected in any election in PNG.

He said the 2022 National General Election is no exception, however stressed that any election petitions should provide evidence of such occurances.

“We delivered the election process and we want the election to be done – but when there is a crime, it becomes a law and order issue, we have election laws, and election offences, so we need to now record all those election offences and start investigating, if they need to be arrested they will be arrested –that is election offences,” Sinai said.

Meanwhile, a woman was allegedly shot and killed when PNG police fired to disperse a rowdy crowd in the National Capital District.

This was one of many outbursts from frustrated voters at polling venues when Moresby North-east polling officials showed up late Monday after three consecutive deferrals in a week.

Sinai said he was saddened by the killing.

“It is unfortunate,” he said. “Police will need to take precautions and consider the people and there are better ways to approach people.”

“It’s not a war, we should try to stop this.”

Fights broke out in several polling stations where people were complaining about insufficient numbers of ballot papers and missing names. At least one polling booth stopped people from voting because of this. 

However, some polling stations such as the one at Boroko observed peaceful polls. 

Moresby North-East is the hottest electorate in the nation’s capital with the biggest number of candidates at 76, and has been the target of disputes over ballot boxes which were one of the main reasons behind the deferral of the polls.

Marape in Fiji for Forum leaders meeting

Meanwhile Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is in Fiji for the 51st Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.

Marape will meet the host of the 51st PIF and Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the margins of the 51st PIF.

The meeting, hosted by the Fijian government, is billed as one of the most-significant in recent history as the region gradually emerges from the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I will be out of the country  for a day-and-a-half and return on Thursday, given that the elections are still in progress,” Marape said.

“In my absence, I have designated Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso, to be Acting Prime Minister

“The PIF is a very-important regional meeting for all Pacific nations, and as the sitting Prime Minister of the largest island nation, I must attend to ensure that PNG’s presence is felt and support and discuss progress on our shared-regional issues,” said Marape.