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court orders recount for North Fly

The election victory of North Fly MP James Donald has been declared null and void, and a recount was ordered.
Justice Colin Makail made these orders at the Kiunga National Court last week at the close of the trial of petition filed by losing candidate Paiyo Bale.
This was after the court found that two out of four ballot boxes wrongly admitted to scrutiny were counted, and thus affected the final result.
“It is the conclusion of the court that by error of the election manager Mr Paul, returning officer Mr Papin, and election steering committee officials, including Mr Donald and others who supported him, to have the ballot boxes 26 and 27 admitted to scrutiny, the result of the election was likely to be affected.
“To rectify the error, there must be a recount of the ballot papers excluding ballot papers form boxes 26 and 27 from Nomad LLG,” Justice Makail said.
The court found that boxes 26, 27, 28, and 29 were from polling teams in the Nomad LLG for Sought Fly electorate.
However when they opened for counting the ballot papers inside were marked for North Fly seat.
Boxes 28 and 29 were not counted as they were tempered with.
The court also found that the people in this border LLG have been voting for North Fly seat in all the past national elections, but for this year the local level government was listed within South Fly polling area in line with gazettal notices.
“The people of Nomad and North Fly will not have it their way this time round but must follow what the law says,” the judge said.
The court ordered that polling by teams 26, 27, 28, and 29 were illegal, as well as the decision by the acting returning officer to reverse the decision of the returning officer and count the ballot boxes as null and void and of no effect.
The recount of ballot papers excluding ones from the four boxes is to be conducted and completed by April 16, within two months from the date of the decision of the court and the result are to be presented to the court at the Waigani National Court on April 23 for approval .
Until then, Mr Donald will remain in office as the incumbent MP, Justice Makail said. Post courier/ ONE PNG
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