22 Jan 2009

2007 election of Western Highlands Governor declared void by PNG court

2:14 pm on 22 January 2009

The 2007 election of Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga has been declared null and void by Papua New Guinea's National Court in Mt Hagen.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that Justice David Cannings concluded that over 4-thousand ballot papers had been affected by a range of errors.

Late last year the election went to a recount in which Governor Olga won the seat against former prime minister, Paias Wingti, by more than 1,000 votes.

However during the court case, two counting officials from Chimbu admitting to receiving bribes from the returning electoral officer to manipulate the figures to Mr Wingti's advantage.

Justice Cannings concluded that because of the various errors, the election wasn't fair, open and democratic, therefore making the result void.

He said the fairest and most appropriate course of action to take is to set in train a new election.