22 May 2003

PNG election officials locked up over unpaid allowances

1:27 pm on 22 May 2003

In Papua New Guinea, Southern Highlands supplementary election officials, frustrated over unpaid allowances , yesterday locked two senior Electoral Commission officials in a house at Mendi.

They prevented Frank Gabi, the manager of the supplementary elections, and Abraham Wari, the provincial returning officer, from leaving the house until their demands for allowances were sorted out.

The Post Courier reports Mr Gabi was trying to check in at the Mendi airport yesterday to fly out to Port Moresby when the polling officials turned up and took all the election returns he had with him.

The action stems from earlier advice that payments of all bills would be settled yesterday, but when people showed up to be paid, they were told there was no money and they had to wait.

Meanwhile, the Mendi District Court has ordered the commission to pay the 32 officials conducting the vote count.