A pioneering approach to birthing
Quest for national sovereignty

Witness tampering: Gamato in custody

Patilias Gamato - threatened to sue writer Martyn Namorong for defamation during the 2017 election when Namorong satirically compared him with a tomato


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.

Gamato - in custody and head bowed in shameOn 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.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bernard Corden

Dear Phil,

I can recall attending several Queensland parliamentary committee hearings at the parliament house annexe and being scanned by security on the way in.

I suggested that the process be reversed and MPs be scanned on the way out.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Strewth! I'm glad I left Bernard.

Surely good old Ted Sorenson can't be corrupt. I just thought he was a bit underdone.

Bernard Corden

We don't have any ministers with integrity in the current Queensland state government and there are plenty of rotten tomatoes amongst the ALP cabinet ministers. It is reminiscent of Tammany Hall politics, which plagued New York state politics for over 80 years.

A quick glance through most Queensland government departmental websites and organisational structures is like trawling through ancestry.com or watching looped renditions of the SBS program "Who do you think you are?" It should be entitled, "Who do they think they are?"

The Fitzgerald Inquiry merely sent the cockroaches scattering but after three decades and several sacrificial lambs the scavenging hyenas have returned.

The butcher's apprentice still has his snout in the trough and another former premier heads the banking industry association.

The Triads run the treasury and the Cosa Nostra is firmly entrenched within the Office of Industrial Relations.

There are no dots to join and Phil Dickie and Chris Masters would have a field day.

Lindsay F Bond

A common expression is "there ought to be another..."
The idea is to try a stronger way of saying.

With 44 years of PNG "independence", is it time to find another way of expressing the positive in the word 'dependence'?

In the shadows of a long night of a too-long prime-minister-ship, some in the cruise ratted on the crew.

Light of dawn offers opportunity to chart again the gulf between fame and shame, for a more reliable map, more truth in tok and more support for people on whom to depend.

Daniel Kumbon

If Gamato was a man of true integrity he should have resigned when the dark forces tried to influence him.

We have too many pretenders in PNG who do not know what is wrong and what is right....

Eric Schering

In 2007 my spouse and I briefly met Patilias Gamato when he was provincial administrator for Morobe Province. At that time he was a man of integrity providing good leadership for the province.

After being appointed electoral commissioner he went over to the dark side.

I hate it when people of integrity in high levels of government - we don't have enough of them in PNG - go over to the dark side.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)