A candidate for Manus Open has demanded that fresh elections be held for the electorate following revelations of widespread fraud revealed in the primary and secondary vote recount ordered by the Electoral Commissioner.
Pangu Party national party president Sam Tasion who has been running in third and fourth place in the counting in the past week, expressed his dissapointment in a statement yesterday.
He said he was shocked and totally dismayed that public servants in Manus could easily allow themselves to be compromised in their duties.
There has been irrefutable and credible evidence uncovered by the Electoral Commission staff after scrutineers boycotted the counting and called for an audit.
Mr Tasion said he appreciates the urgent recount intervention ordered by Mr Trawen, but added that this is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
“Instances of collusion between public servants, politicians and some candidates were obvious during the votes counting,” he said. “There have been widespread rumours that public servants have received bribes in the form of food, cash, petrol and other favours from some candidates to not pay attention to checking and counting complaints from scrutineers,” he added.The appointment of relatives and employees of some candidates as polling, checking and counting officials directly contravenes the public service code of conduct and public service Management Act and General Orders which should not have been allowed.Instances of public servants ordering voters to vote for specific candidates have been recorded while voter intimidation has been rampant.Distribution, checking and counting of votes were clearly rigged as the public servants involved were relatives, church associates or employees of some candidates, he claimed.Mr Tasion stated that in one instance, one relative of a candidate counted a bundle of votes for a rival candidate to the tally of his related candidate and this was a sanctioned by the Senior Provincial Election Managers.“Votes for other candidates were distributed to and counted towards the tally of others during prolonged blackouts.This was unheard of and is unusual in previous elections but this Election practices in the Highlands have arrived in Manus,” he added.Given the widespread illegal activities, Mr Tasion is calling upon the Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to order a stop to the present election and conduct fresh elections for the province.