Madang governor denies bribing election officers

4:46 pm on 25 January 2019

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Madang province Peter Yama denies he bribed electoral officials.

Papua New Guinea's Madang Governor Peter Yama left with the Governor of Indonesia's Papua province, Lukas Enembe in Jayapura. October 2018

Peter Yama Photo: Supplied

Late last year, two election officials were convicted by the National Court, after they failed to report money they received from a regional candidate.

John Tumaing confessed to receiving 50 kina from the candidate, and Nixon Kavo admitted to receiving 500 kina, around the time of the vote count for the Madang Provincial Seat in the 2017 general election.

The candidate was named as Mr Yama, who has not been charged. He said he helped people on occasion, but didn't bribe.

"I do give money but this is not a bribe. This is two young boys I know. They grew up with me. I'm (like) their father, they're very close to me. They were coming back from the election and they were hungry, they had no money. There was no allowance paid to them.

"So they were hungry, they said father do you have some, please, we're hungry. So I gave them what was in my pocket, I just gave it to them at the shopping centre."

Madang governor Peter Yama said the two young men he gave money to were not working on the vote count in his regional constituency, and claimed it didn't occur during the relevant election period.

"I don't bribe people with 50 kina, 100 kina... I don't do that.

"Bribery only comes into play when you bribe people, giving money to people and tell them you're going to vote for me. Giving money in the shops is not bribery," he explained.

Mr Yama indicated there would be an appeal against the pair's convictions.