Potape disputes declaration claim

Loop PNG understands that, Philip Undialu, has been declared as Governor-elect for Hela Province by Election Manager John Tipa.

However, this is being disputed by Francis Potape, alleging that Tipa burnt the master tally board this morning before doing the declaration.

Potape further alleges that Tipa had been bribed by the People’s National Congress (PNC) Party to declare Undialu without following the proper legal process.

Potape told Loop PNG from Tari that after the final elimination, his score was 67,435 while Undialu collected 65,836.

​Check facts before publishing: Returning officer

Tari-Pori Returning Officer, Jack Walara, made the call after claims of illegal ballot papers being taken to Hela Province were made.

He told Loop PNG that the ballot papers were not illegal but instead, were sent to the wrong port.

"The ballot papers were supposed to be sent to Tari-Pori but instead, went to Koroba-Kopiago district."

He explained that the ballot papers had been destroyed because they might be tampered with.

However, Walara said the Electoral Commission has issued new ballot papers and they are looking forward to polling today.

Court appoints Thomas Potape acting governor for Hela

Using the Commonwealth Doctrine of Necessity and the powers of the court, Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia appointed Thomas Potape as acting Hela governor.

He will be acting in that post, until the return of writs.

This ruling was made late Wednesday afternoon after a stay application that was filed by Komo-Margarima MP, Francis Potape was refused.

​PNC rally disrupted in Hela

The rally was led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his PNC Hela candidates, with the incumbent member for Tari-Pori and Finance Minister James Marape.

Reports on the ground say the Prime Minister was quickly whisked to safety when the crowd started throwing stones at each other, forcing the police to fire teargas.

The Hela Provincial Police Commander, Michael Welly, has confirmed the reports.

However, the PM’s officials say it is a minor incident between supporters of rival candidates.

This is the third reported disruption from the public at PNC rallies.

ExxonMobil records positive production results at Muruk 1 gas well

In a statement, ExxonMobil stated that the well successfully flowed gas at a rate of 16 million standard cubic feet per day.

The well rate was constrained by test facilities which limited tests to short flow and build up periods. Hydrocarbon samples were collected during the production test.

“We are encouraged by these well test results and will integrate them into the ongoing resource evaluation work and potential appraisal program in 2018,” president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Steve Greenlee said.

​Undialu: All must follow process

This should begin with elections in the provincial assembly because so much is at stake.

Undialu, who is contesting the Hela Regional Seat and has been in and out of court over the governor post, said precedent has to be set to follow the law to be elected governor. 

He made these comments outside the Waigani court precinct following the National Court’s decision, declaring Potape’s election as governor illegal for the third time.

Security personnel withdrawn from Hela

Commissioner for Police, Gari Baki, confirmed this today during a conference at the Police Headquarters in Port Moresby.

Baki said only a small contingent of defence and two sections of the mobile squad are still in the province.

The officers were pulled out for a couple of reasons; one of which is to reposition the men and prepare again for redeployment for the elections. The second reason is the issue of funding.

However, Baki says that will not stop them from going into phase two of the call-out operations, which will be the targeted operations in the province.

Governor Potape assists Hela students in Madang

Representative of the Governor’s office Tape Pulupe handed over a cheque payment to Hela students Association President Edwin Gayani on Tuesday.

Speaking to the students’, Pulupe said it was a great honor indeed on behalf of the Governor to assist Hela students studying in three institutions in Madang.

“The Governor’s office and the Hela electorate recognised the importance of your education as the future assets of Hela and PNG as a whole, because after you graduated from DWU you will contribute to the socio economic development of PNG,” says Pulupe.

Local organisations working in Partnership to combat FSV in Hela

The agreement signed on the March 2, 2017, brings together two local Papua New Guinean organisations and will improve access to response services and health providers including referral where needed for GBV survivors and communities.

GBV including Family and Sexual Violence (FSV) in Hela is a major challenge and the Foundation has been providing support to the Hela Provincial Hospital Family Support Centre (FSC) since March 2016.

Hela people call on Dion to visit province

They said this has led to the recent call-out by the government.

Hela Gimbu Association Inc chairman Damien Arabagali said Sir Leo as the Minister responsible must take the lead and visit the new province.

“Why is the Deputy Prime Minister not visiting the province? We are calling on him to visit the new province and experience what life is in the province rather than staying in Port Moresby.

“If he doesn’t visit the province, he must resign and let others take over from him,” says Arabagali.