A Papua New Guinean businessman has been arrested and charged by police as the first of 15 “persons of interest” relating to post national election violence in the Southern Highlands Province earlier this year.
Police have confirmed the unsuccessful candidate for the SHP regional seat, Peter Nupiri, a former chair of PNG Power and a construction business managing director, has been arrested and charged over election-related crimes.
Police Commissioner David Manning confirmed the arrest and charging of Peter Nupiri.
A search warrant was executed by police as confirmed by Commissioner Manning.
“We are not time bound by the elections. If these candidates think that we are, then they are sadly misinformed,” he said.
Police also confirmed a candidate personally presented himself to Commissioner Manning and was interviewed by the Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) to ascertain whether he was criminally responsible for crimes committed in Mendi, SHP.
He was not charged but will be required if evidence permits.
200 ballot boxes destroyed
Police allege that Nupiri, 46, from Olea village, Mendi, Southern Highlands, communicated with individuals to destroy about 200 ballot boxes that were stored at the Mendi police station.
Police allege his communication via mobile phone to several men led to the six-days violent destruction of Mendi town.
The ballot boxes were stored at the police station after supporters had disputed the counting of the 200 plus ballot boxes.
On August 18, several armed men allegedly entered the premises and fired several gun shots and threatened the duty officers.
They then took control of the premises and opened the two containers where the boxes were kept and took the boxes out and destroyed the ballot boxes by setting them on fire.
The result of the actions taken by the men led to the burning down of properties, killing of 15 people and destruction of other property.
Republished with permission.