A former election manager for Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District (NCD) who was charged with election fraud for corruptly receiving a large sum of money from a candidate during the 2017 election has been sentenced to seven years in prison by the National Court at Waigani.
National Court judge Justice Teresa Berrigan described the offence as “official corruption of the worst kind” and wants the sentence to serve as deterrent to potential offenders in this year’s election.
“As the country stands on the eve of elections, a severe penalty must be imposed as a clear warning to potential offenders, and to maintain public confidence in the electoral process,” Justice Berrigan said.
The former NCD election manager, Terence Hetinu, was initially arrested and charged on June 27, 2017, after a public complaint was lodged with police about Hetinu’s conduct that day.
He was reported to have carried with him in an electoral commission vehicle a substantial amount of money to be allegedly used for bribing polling officials to support a specific candidate.
When arrested, police found in his possession K184,300 (about NZ$80,000) and a contract agreement which stated that he would be rewarded with a security contract from the National Capital District Commission if he helped a candidate to win the Port Moresby regional seat.
Elections delayed by two weeks
RNZ Pacific reports that the weeks-long elections start with the writs now on May 12.
Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai announced that the nominations would start that day, finishing on May 19.
Polling is due to start on July 9 and finish on the July 22 — allowing 14 days for polling. The writs are to be returned on July 29.
Republished with permission.