Source:The National, Tuesday May 3rd, 2016
By DEMAS TIEN
THE National Court has set aside Kandep MP Don Polye’s victory during the 2012 general election ‒ pending the counting of votes in five ballot boxes initially rejected.
Justice Joseph Yagi in a ruling yesterday gave 30 days to the Electoral Commission to have the five ballot boxes counted.
Luke Alfred Manase, who was the runner-up in 2012 to Polye, the current Opposition Leader, in the Kandep Open seat, had sought four orders from the court including the recounting of votes in the five boxes.
Three were earlier in favour of Polye.
Yagi ordered yesterday that the candidate scoring the absolute majority after the counting of votes in the five boxes would be declared the Kandep MP.
The five boxes rejected were from the polling stations at Lungutenges No 1, Kombros No 1, Kambia No 1, Maru and Imipiaka in Kandep.
Manase named Polye as the first respondent and the Electoral Commission as the second.
He disputed the election of Polye, questioning the conduct of election officials during the counting of votes.
The substance of the complaint by Manase in the petition was related to allegations of errors and omissions by the officers, servants and agents of the Electoral Commission.
The court was satisfied with one of the grounds raised by Manase in his petition relating to the five boxes which were rejected. The votes in the five boxes were not scrutinised and counted. The other three grounds were dismissed because the court was not satisfied that the allegations stated in the grounds had been sufficiently proven.
Meanwhile, Polye said yesterday in response to the court ruling that he was the victim of an error made by the returning officer for the Kandep Open seat.
Polye said he had won the seat by a big margin but this had been set aside because of an error by the Electoral Commission and its agents.
“I am just a victim of an error by the Returning Officer,” Polye said.