4 Jul 2012

Charges in PNG for alleged election tampering

6:12 pm on 4 July 2012

A Papua New Guinea election official and three people have been charged with tampering with ballot boxes and papers in the Dei electorate in Western Highlands.

The newspaper, The National, reports a security forces spokesman as saying the alleged offences took place when voting in the province was extended for a day.

It is alleged that the official and his accomplices carried six ballot boxes into a coffee estate and started filling them up with illegally marked ballot papers.

The newspaper reports that police caught them red-handed.

The four, alleged to have acted for a particular candidate, are currently in custody.

There have also been violent clashes among supporters of different candidates in the province.

The electoral commission is reworking its logistics on a daily basis to cope with confusion about the voter roll and poor weather.

AAP reports that the Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen, says much of the polling is expected to be completed on time on July the 6th, but voting will be extended in some areas.

He says due to a delayed start of polling and bad weather in some areas, helicopter schedules have been reworked on a daily basis to meet the transportation requirements for polling teams.

Voting in 11 of PNG's 22 provinces has finished but the process may be extended in Gulf province as electoral officials made their way through rugged terrain.

Voting in Western Province is expected to continue until July the 11th and in the Bougainville atolls until July the 9th.

Chimbu province will now begin voting on Friday and a date has yet to be set for polling in Eastern Highlands province.