WESTERN Highlands governor and former prime minister Paias Wingti has warned Papua New Guinea’s politicians not to interfere with the office of the Electoral Commissioner.
He made the call following reports that a cabinet ministers and other members of the parliament had made visits to the Electoral Commission in an attempt to influence the appointment of returning officers.
The PNG Post-Courier newspaper reported that Wingti urged Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato, who will conduct the 2017 national election, to carry out his duties without fear or favour in the most transparent and honest manner.
In response, Gamato, who is a constitutional office holder, said there would be no political influence in the electoral process or in the running of the Electoral Commission.
He denied claims that named ministers and MPs visited him to identify district administrators and district managers who they wanted appointed as returning officers for their provinces.
Wingti strongly called on MPs to desist in such behaviour and to stand firm as leaders fighting against corruption.