Three men, including one armed with a pistol have robbed the Electoral Commission office in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, of almost 165,000 US dollars.
The National newspaper reports that the robbers forced two female staff in the Boroko office to open the safe which held money for polling officers who had not been paid their allowances since the 2002 national elections.
The Commission had cashed a cheque at a Bank South Pacific branch this week and was planning to pay the officers over the next few days.
The robbers ripped out the telephone wires before escaping in what police believe was a stolen car.
Police say they have not ruled out the possibility of an inside job as the robbers appeared to know where the money was kept.