PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea's electoral commissioner, Patilias Gamato, was remanded in custody at the Boroko police cells in the national capital on Thursday after an alleged breach of his bail conditions.
Gamato was arrested in October and charged with corruption in relation to an incident in Port Moresby during the 2017 general elections.
There had already been wild inconsistencies and flaws in the electoral roll, scheduling changes and delayed polling before three electoral officials were detained by police after they were found carrying marked ballot papers, suspicious documents and US$57,000 in cash.
As the election proceeded amidst multiple claims of vote rigging, Gamato struggled to contain perceptions that the election was corrupt and was the target of much urging that he stand down to restore integrity to the process.
But Gamato refused to resign and the election was later praised by the Australian government and a Commonwealth observer group.
More reliable and independent reports after the election demonstrated with strong evidence that there were corrupt and improper practices in many of the seats contested.
On Thursday, following an application filed by the police prosecutor, Gamato’s bail of K3,000 that had previously been granted by the Waigani committal court was yesterday revoked and set aside by the same court.
Gamato is alleged to have breached a bail condition prescribing that he was not to interfere with witnesses.
The prosecution alleged that, since being granted bail he had interfered with state witnesses who are employees of the PNG Electoral Commission.
Following the court's ruling that he be detained, Gamato was taken to the Boroko police cells in Port Moresby, head bowed in shame.