24 Sep 2003

PNG Ombudsman announces probe into election of new Governor-General

9:17 am on 24 September 2003

Papua New Guinea's ombudsman is to hold an inquiry into last week's election of Sir Albert Kipilan as the country's new Governor-General.

The chief Ombudsman, Ila Geno, says a number of legitimate questions have been raised over the vote and he wants to make sure there are no doubts about the legitimacy of the appointment.

He says he will ask cabinet not to convey Sir Albert's nomination to the Queen until his investigation is complete.

Earlier this week, the clerk of parliament rejected newspaper claims that the Constitution and the Organic Law were breached during the election

Ano Pala said the media had wrongly stated that the Speaker had cast a deciding vote in favour of Sir Albert.

He says the law is clear that if there is an equal number of votes to decide who will hold the office, then a further ballot is ordered by the Speaker and if that vote is also tied the ballot is adjourned for one sitting day.

Mr Pala says the final ballot last week indicated 46 votes for Sir Albert and 45 for the runner-up.

Ninety one MPs were present during the ballot - the same number revealed by the count

Mr Pala says the Speaker of the House has instructed him to take appropriate action against persons involved in the misrepresentation of events as it seriously demeans the MPs in the House and the dignity of the Papua New Guinea parliament.