Wabag Open MP, Robert Sandan Ganim after his competency hearing yesterday at the Waigani National Court.Pic by CYRIL GARE.
Court throws out election petition against Ganim
By CYRIL GARE
THE National Court in Waigani on Tuesday afternoon threw out an election petition in its entirety filed by Samuel Abal against Wabag MP, Robert Ganim.
Presiding judge Justice Derrick Hartshorn found that the petition – EP 61 of 2012 – did not fully comply with section 208 (a) of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections.
The court also found that allegations other than bribery and undue influence were not pleaded as expected and pleadings relating to illegal practices and errors and omissions should be struck out.
“From the perusal of the petition, the petitioner has not specifically pleaded that the illegal practice or error or omission was likely to affect or did affect the result of the election,” the judge said.
“Consequently, on this ground, the pleadings relating to illegal practices and errors and omissions should be struck out.”
On the allegations of holding double office – that Robert Ganim did not resign as adviser for education in Enga before nominated in election 2012 – the court found that qualifications are not competency issue and should also be struck out.
“Given that, I have found that all the grounds of the petition should be struck out, the petition be dismissed,” Judge Hartshorn said in a nine page decision handed down at 3pm on Tuesday.
Outside the courthouse, a jubilant and relieved Mr Ganim told a crowd of supporters and well wishers “it’s over finally. It’s time to go home and work with the people”.
He extend his gratitude towards his legal team including Ian Molloy, QC engaged by Paul Paraka Lawyers and assisted by lawyers Adam Ninkama and Billy Bonner and counsel representing the electoral commission, Harold Viyogo of Pacific Legal Practice Lawyers.
Mr Ganim, appealed to Mr Abal and his supporters to respect the decision of the court and allow him to continue to do his job and that he is welcome to challenge him again in the 2017 elections.